RECORD-SETTING LABOR DAY WEEKEND! #1 'Halloween' Best Horror 2007 Opening

MONDAY AM: Overall, the top films for the Labor Day weekend made $141.6 mil, which smashed 2003’s previous record of $132.2 mil and did 15% better than 2006’s $123 mil. That’s going to cause Hollywood to take a fresh look at releasing a lot more new product during this 4-day holiday which studios have traditionally shunned. The holiday was in keeping with what I’ve already reported: that Summer 2007’s over-heated overall domestic gross set a new all-time record (though not adjusted for inflation or ticket prices). Media By Numbers puts the May 1st through September 3rd figure at $4.180 billion — compared to $3.850 billion for 2006 and $3.95 billion for 2004. Revenue is up 8.57% and attendance up 3.82% over last year. Not only was this Hollywood’s first $4 billion summer, but it crossed 600 million tickets sold for the first time since 2004 (though not close to the 653 million tickets sold during the Summer of 2002).

Moviegoers flocked to the three decades old Michael Myers horror franchise as the reimagined Halloween debuted to $11.1 mil on Friday and $8.6 million on Saturday and $6.9 million on Sunday at 3,472 theaters. The R-rated pic directed by Rob Zombie and based on the chilling 1978 original made a better than expected $26.7 mil for the 3-day weekend and should climb to $33.3 mil for the 4-day Friday through Labor Day. It’s the biggest pure horror or thriller opening of the year, ahead of Disturbia and TWC’s own 1408. That’s also a new record for biggest Labor Day holiday 3- and 4-day domestic gross as well as biggest Friday gross for a Labor Day holiday (previous best Labor Day weekend opening was Transporter 2 with $20.1 mil, non-opening was Sixth Sense with $29.1 mil). As I’d predicted, the so-called ninequel did collapse 23% Saturday once audiences got wind of the terrible buzz. Still, it’s a rare and welcome Dimension Film hit for embattled The Weinstein Co and distributor MGM, which is sick of getting fleas from TWC’s many dogs.) No. 2 was Sony’s low-cost coming of age comedy Superbad, falling out of the top spot for the first time since its release three weeks ago. The Judd Apatow-produced laugher made $3.4 mil Friday and $4.2 mil Saturday and $4.7 mil Sunday from an expanded run of 3,002 for a $12.3 mil 3-day weekend. Its 4-day holiday is $15.6 mil and its cume surged past $92.1 mil.

Rogue Pictures / Focus Features’ Balls Of Fury, with a marketing campaign unfunny to the extreme despite the presence of Christopher Walken, limped into 3rd place with an opening of $3.4 mil Friday and $4.1 mil Saturday (up 20%) and $4.7 mil Sunday from 3,052 dates for a new 3-day weekend gross of $11.3 mil and 4-day holiday of $13.8 mil. The other newcomer to crack the Top 10 was 20th Century Fox’s Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon: it debuted in 8th place for the 3-day weekend of $4.2 mil from 1,822 theaters, but fell to 9th for the 4-day holiday of $5.2 mil.

No. 4 went to Universal’s The Bourne Ultimatum with a hefty new cume of $202.6 mil after squeezing out another $10.3 mil for the 3-day weekend and $13.1 mil for the 4-day holiday from 3,290 venues. Overseas, the Matt Damon strarrer stayed strong for an estimated $15.1 mil at 2,404 dates in 31 territories and a new international total of $75 mil. It had No. 1 openings in 6 territories including Australia where it is dominating the market with 60% market share. But it was DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek the Third that ruled at the international box office in the final summer weekend with $17.2 million. Brett Ratner’s Rush Hour 3 from New Line has made $122.5 mil after its $8.5 mil 3-day weekend and $10.4 mil 4-day holiday from 3,008 plays — good enough for #5.

In 6th place sits Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean’s Holiday after the Universal laugher eked out $5.9 mil for the 3-day weekend and $8.1 mil for the 4-day holiday from 1,765 venues for a new cume of $21.1 mil. The 7th spot went to The Weinstein Co’s slacker The Nanny Diaries with Scarlett Johannson. After a paltry $5.2 mil 3-day weekend and $6.7 mil 4-day holiday from 2,636 dates, this MGM-distributed pic’s new cume is a disastrous $16.8 mil. War from Lionsgate starring Jet Li dropped a whopping 71% at the box office Friday compared to its opening a week ago: its new cume is a disappointing $18.1 mil after finishing the 3-day weekend in #9 with $4.2 mil and moving up to #8 for the 4-day holiday with $5.3 mil. Finishing the Top 10, Paramount’s romantic fantasy Stardust hung in for a 3-day weekend of $3 mil and a predicted 4-day holiday of $3.9 mil from 1,766 runs; but its new cume starting four weeks in release is just $31.9 mil, thus cementing its status as a flop.

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