Monday AM writethru, 7th update: Labor Day is coming in slightly better than anticipated, but it’s still one of the lowest finales to summer since 1999, when the four-day stretch totaled $98.3M. ComScore is figuring $95M-$100M for the four-day Labor Day weekend; however, some studios’ internal numbers think it could be as high as $102M-$104M. If the four-day comes in under $98.3M, it will be the lowest since 1998.
Again, this lull is due to the fact that the major studios decided to skip Labor Day weekend this year for the first time in 25 years without any wide releases. Compared to last year’s Labor Day weekend of $128.6M, the B.O. is down 25%. After last weekend’s rock bottom ticket sales of $69M, the Labor Day three-day logged an estimated $75.5M, the second worst this year to date. ComScore believes summer 2017 from May 5-Sept. 4 will end with $3.84 billion, still the lowest since 2006.
True, not many wide releases launched over Labor Day leg-out. But there is typically some sort of cash grab going on with Specialty and genre fare on a wide basis. Whatever the studios are saving on their end by not shelling out for P&A, the exhibitors are losing on their end (and, we hear, they’re not pleased). As we mentioned previously, CinemaScore and PostTrak aren’t polling this weekend because there aren’t any films playing in more than 1,000 theaters.
Instead of breaking wide, distributors restricted themselves to a diet of premium limited fare in a few hundred theaters, including Sony’s 40th Anniversary reissue of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (out on DVD next week); Weinstein Co.’s Tulip Fever; and Marvel TV/ABC’s Inhumans in Imax – all of which are now charting outside the top 10. Everything will return to order next weekend, when New Line’s Stephen King It film brings business back to life with a $60M-$66M start.
Lionsgate’s action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard is truly benefiting from the lack of competition in the marketplace, beating industry projections with $13.4M over four days, the only pic to hold the top spot for three weekends in a row this summer (some distribs even think the pic is higher at $13.3M). By end of today, Hitman will stand at $58M. Lionsgate’s Pantelion label has the Chilean comedy Hazlo Como Hombre, which is posting $1.49M over four days at 382 theaters. The Nicolas Lopez-directed movie has made close to $10M already in Mexico.
The new crop of limited releases are jumping around the chart, switching ranks with each update.
Close Encounters‘ 4-day is now at $2.3M at 901 sites, per rival estimates. The 40th anni restoration is a tee-off for the pic’s DVD release next week. Sony re-releases its classics every now and then. One of the more notable times was during Labor Day 2014 with Ghostbusters, which made $2.3M at 784 sites over four days.
It was a two-year process to bring Close Encounters back to the screen, overseen by Grover Crisp, Sony’s EVP asset management, film restoration and digital mastering, who has worked on previous reissues of the film. All the work was done on the Sony lot at Deluxe Culver City, and Crisp worked with colorist Sheri Eisenberg. Deluxe also handled the 5.1 sound restoration, which was obtained from a 70mm print master. Spielberg approved the final cut.
Sony made a point to get Close Encounters out on the best screens in the country so as to dazzle, including 444 premium large format screens, as well as locations such as the Dome, Hollywood; the Grove LA; AMC Century City; Lincoln Square Manhattan; Regal Union Square; and the AMC Empire on 42nd Street NY. Despite how gorgeous this new Close Encounters looks on the big screen, and despite the positive fan want-to-see that RelishMix noticed on social, which includes a social reach of 27.4M followers, there’s nothing new added here, and that’s what might be keeping some folks away. Spielberg added interior mothership scenes to the 1980 version, but then took them out for the 1997 re-release. What audiences are watching this weekend is a refined print of that cut from 20 years ago, with some 1980 bits mixed in.
Outside of 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm’s box office bonanza reissue of the original Star Wars trilogy back in 1997, one of the more notable re-releases B.O.-wise in recent memory was Warner Bros.’ The Exorcist: The Director’s Cut back in 2000. That movie boasted new footage which pulled in horror-philes. The re-release, which originally played at 664 sites, was a casual one. Warners said at the time that they weren’t even expecting much from it; Exorcist was re-released at a sleepy time in late September, even going up against another horror title, Sony’s Urban Legends: Final Cut. The re-release’s success took Warners by surprise with Exorcist nearly toppling Urban Legends at the weekend B.O., $8.1M to $8.5M. Warners expanded to 1,105 theaters in weekend 2 and ultimately made $39.7M stateside off the 2001 cut. The studio recognized the re-energized interest in Exorcist and set about making an Exorcist origins film, which was initially directed by Paul Schrader, but then ultimately taken over by Renny Harlin.
Tulip Fever is in play at 765 sites and dying with $1.4M over four days. Harvey Weinstein detailed the period pic’s path to the big screen in a Deadline column, a journey that began during his Miramax days. Blame the film’s 12% Rotten Tomatoes score, which is like a repellent keeping arthouse moviegoers away. Rather than go wide, TWC relied on a bulletproof selection of Specialty houses. What went wrong here? While Variety’s film review points out that this Amsterdam period piece set against the tulip bulb economy boom during the 17th century would have been best respected during the dot-com rage of the early aughts, we understand what’s off-putting in the movie is that one is expected to sympathize with Alicia Vikander’s bought bride, and despise the husband who bought her, played by Christoph Waltz. But it’s the other way around. He winds up treating her with respect, and she cheats behind his back with a second-rate painter played by Dane DeHaan. Variety says that makes Waltz’s character “far more sympathetic as the cuckold than DeHaan proves as the cad.” In addition, Variety says, “No amount of reshoots or cutting can create chemistry where none exists, and the love scenes here are more revolting than romantic, evoking the odors of grimy feet and unwashed hair, as opposed to flowery potpourri.”
But if you want to know where the sophisticated crowd is this weekend, they’re at TWC’s Wind River, which over-performed this weekend with close to $8M in third place over FSSM, and by EOD will have a running cume of $20.4M. Through its fifth weekend, the movie is running 4% ahead of Taylor Sheridan’s scripted western last summer, Hell or High Water, which ended its run at $27M. TWC’s is also in fourth place with the second weekend of its animated pic Leap! which is expected to file $6.59M over four.
Inhumans’ 4-day is at $1.36M over four days at 393 auditoriums per industry estimates; Imax reported $1.5M yesterday. In total worldwide, the Marvel pilot grossed $2.6M. Imax programs alternative content during lulls at the B.O. Two years ago, during the doldrums of January, Imax released the last two episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones season 4, “The Watchers on the Wall” and “The Children” on 205 screens, and made close to $2M in a week’s run.
Originally, Inhumans was in development as a film, but was pulled off the schedule in April last year. Back in July, Marvel showed off Imax footage and a trailer down at San Diego Comic-Con. However, fans and critics grumbled over Medusa’s wig and plot points. At TCA, Marvel TV EVP Jeph Loeb informed the press that the final product wasn’t ready yet. RelishMix caught wind of the mixed conversation on social “as this project is causing confusion with fans. The Imax copy and in-theater trailers puts some fans under the impression that it’s a film. Fans aware of the show and its exclusive premiere have expressed the notion that Imax is too expensive and they will wait for the television premiere, and other skepticism around the characters and production value. The most discussed character is Black Bolt, with fans discussing the costume. Fans have been quick to notice the CGI and feel its sub-par from what they’ve seen in the same world of Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy. These characters are memorable from the comics and some fans also appear to plan to check it out out of loyalty to Marvel.” Inhumans has a two-week run in Imax before it airs on ABC on Friday, Sept. 29 at 8/7 c.
Studio reported estimates for the weekend of Sept. 1-4, Labor Day weekend, as of Sunday AM: — chart updating with Monday AM figures
1.). Hitman’s Bodyguard (LG), 3,370 theaters (-7) / $2.4M Fri. /$4M Sat/ $4.1M Sun/ $2.8M Mon/ 3-day cume: $10.5M (+3%)/4-day: $13.4M/Total: $58M /Wk 3
2.). Annabelle: Creation (NL/WB), 3,358 theaters (-207) / $1.84M Fri. / $2.9M Sat/$2.78M Sun/$1.8M Mon/3-day cume: $7.5M (-2%)/4-day: $9.3M/Total: $91M/Wk 4
3.) Wind River (TWC), 2,602 theaters (+507) / $1.5m Fri. /$2.3M Sat/$2.4M Sun/$1.7M Mon/ 3-day cume: $6.2M (+35%)/4-day: $7.95M /Total: $20.4M/Wk 5
4.). Leap! (TWC), 2,705 theaters (+130)/ $1.1M Fri. /$1.95M Sat/$1.8M Sun/$1.735M Mon/ 3-day cume: $4.85M (+3%)/4-day: $6.59M /Total: $13.1M/Wk 2
5.) Logan Lucky (BST), 2,975 theaters (-56) / $1M Fri./$1.6M Sat/$1.8M Sun/$1.2M Mon/ 3-day cume: $4.4M (+4%)/4-day: $5.65M Total: $22.7M /Wk 3
6.) Dunkirk (WB), 2,752 theaters (-22)/ $930K Fri. / $1.6M Sat/$1.8M Sun/$1.1M Mon/3-day cume: $4.36M (+11%)/4-day: $5.625M Total: $180.3M/Wk 7
7.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 2,036 theaters (-86)/ $810K Fri./$1.4M Sat/$1.4M Sun/$1.1M Mon/3-day cume: $3.65M (+29%)/4-day: $4.7M /Total: $325.1M/Wk 9
8.). The Emoji Movie (SONY), 2,108 theaters (-266) / $485K Fri. /$987K Sat/$978K Sun/$900K Mon/ 3-day cume: $2.45M (-2%) /4-day: $3.35M /Total: $81.2M/Wk 6
9). Despicable Me 3 (ILL/UNI), 2,132 theaters (+16)/ $481K Fri. / $966K Sat/$1M Sun/$850K Mon/3-day cume: $2.45M (+40%)/4-day: $3.3M /Total: $258.8M/Wk 10
10). The Nut Job 2 (OR), 2,651 theaters (-439) / $428K Fri. /$814K Sat/ $874K Sun/ $829K Mon/ 3-day cume: $2.1M (-9%)/4-day: $2.9M /Total: $26.7M/Wk 4
11). Girls Trip (UNI), 1,607 theaters (-170) / $589K Fri. /$897K Sat/ $829K Sun/ $500K Mon/ 3-day cume: $2.3M (-2%)/4-day: $2.8M /Total: $112M/Wk 7
Close Encounters of the Third Kind 40th Anniversary Edition (SONY), 901 theaters / $485k Fri. (includes $95k previews) / $653K Sat/$662K Sun/$500K Mon/3-day cume: $1.8M/4-day:$2.3M /Wk 1
Birth of the Dragon (BHT), 1,633 theaters (+15) / $417K Fri. /$671K Sat/$654K Sun/$490K Mon/3-day cume: $1.74M (-35%)/4-day: $2.23M /Total: $5.89M/Wk 2
All Saints (SONY), 846 theaters (0) / $335k Fri. /$453K Sat/$487K Sun/$330K Mon/ 3-day cume: $1.27M (-16%)/4-day: $1.6M /Total:$3.8M/Wk 2
Marvel’s Inhumans (IMAX), 393 theaters / $500k Fri. /$353K Sat/$347K Sun/$160K Mon/ 3-day cume: $1.2M/4-day: $1.36M/Wk 1 (industry estimate)
Tulip Fever (TWC), 765 theaters / $359k Fri. /$440K Sat/$354K Sun/$248K Mon/ 3-day cume: $1.15M/4-day: $1.4M/Wk 1
Hazlo Como Hombre (LG/PANT), 382 theaters / $346k Fri. /$389K Sat/$411K Sun/$309K Mon/ 3-day cume: $1.1M/4-day: $1.49M/Wk 1
I Do…Until I Don’t (TFA), 250 theaters /3-day cume: $177K/4-day: $234K/Wk 1