Box Office Guru

The Box Office Has Its Worst Labor Day Weekend in 15 Years

Faith-Based Film War Room Edges Out Compton

by | September 6, 2015 | Comments

Audiences yawned at Hollywood’s offerings and avoided North American multiplexes driving the box office to the worst Labor Day weekend performance in 15 years. The Top 20 films sold just $79 million worth of tickets over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long holiday frame. Though typically a slow summer-ending weekend, the Labor Day frame is usually good for $90 to 110 million for the Top 20 over three days. No film managed to break double digit millions this weekend.

Holdovers led as the low-budget faith-based hit War Room rose from second to first place thanks in part to a 34 percent boost in screens. The Sony title grossed an estimated $9.4 million, off 18 percent, and raised its total to $24.7 million. It only cost $3.5 million to produce but may reach about $50 million by the end of its run.

After three weeks at number one, Straight Outta Compton slipped down to the runner-up spot for the three-day session, but still has a shot at being number one for the full four-day holiday span. Regardless of bragging rights to the top spot, the Universal sensation is still playing well with an estimated $8.9 million for the weekend, off 33 percent. The cume rose to $147.8 million and is expected to crack $150 million on Labor Day — something nobody expected at the start of the summer movie season.

The Robert RedfordNick Nolte outdoors film A Walk in the Woods debuted to solid results in third place exceeding expectations. The Broad Green release bowed to an estimated $8.1 million over three days for a $4,133 average and has grossed $10.2 million since its Wednesday launch. Rated R, Woods earned mixed reviews and a B CinemaScore grade.

One of the year’s most popular action films Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation followed in fourth with an estimated $7.2 million dipping only 12 percent for a robust $180.4 million to date. The Paramount hit joined Jurassic World as the only movies this summer to spend six weekends in the top five. The global cume crossed the half-billion mark with $511 million and China opens this Tuesday, which is sure to send the total well past $600 million this month.

Actions fans did not feel the need to come out for The Transporter Refueled, which opened very wide with 3,434 locations but debuted to just $7.1 million, according to estimates, for a poor $2,076 average. The EuropaCorp release saw bad reviews and the lack of Jason Statham — who anchored the first three films in the franchise — certainly diluted interest. Studios have long relied on young males to power them at the box office, especially in the summertime. But among the two new wide releases, the older-skewing Woods opened better despite having almost half the screens. Demos for Transporter were 60 percent male and 60 percent between ages 18 and 34 and international markets are where this one will see the bulk of its revenue potential.

The Weinstein Co. saw its Owen Wilson film No Escape drop 33 percent to an estimated $5.4 million, pushing the modest sum to $18.4 million. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. grossed an estimated $3.4 million, off 22 percent, and has banked $39.4 million for Warner Bros.

Lionsgate scored big with Latino family audiences as its new animated rooster comedy Un gallo con muchos huevos debuted to strong numbers grossing an estimated $3.4 million from only 395 locations for a terrific $8,608 average. The PG-13 toon was slotted into this school holiday frame and connected with its target audience. The distributor expects $4.4 million over the four-day session.

Falling 28 percent was the horror sequel Sinister 2 with an estimated $3.4 million and $23.7 million overall for Focus. Disney and Pixar rounded out the top ten with the expanding Inside Out which jumped back onto the list with an estimated $3.1 million, pushing the cume to $348.2 million domestic and $734.4 million worldwide with China, Germany, and Italy yet to open.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $59.4 million over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long holiday weekend which was down 29 percent from last year’s Labor Day when Guardians of the Galaxy held number one with $17.1 million; and down 30 percent from 2013’s holiday when The Butler stayed in the top spot with $14.9 million.

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  • Godzilla Never Backs Down

    Religious movies make me wanna barf.

    • Barrel Rider

      Half of the vulgar crap movies playing most of the time makes me wanna “barf.”

      • Godzilla Never Backs Down

        Most of that vulgar crap is still better than a religious movie.

        • Barrel Rider

          Sure because everyone just loves having nudity, gruesome violence, explicit language and demeaning attitudes and situations thrown at them constantly and overshadowing any redeemable message involved. “Religious” films are a breath of fresh air as they promote uplifting themes and a positive general outlook on things. Not everything has to be negative ALL the time.
          (all caps for emphasis, of course.)

          • Godzilla Never Backs Down

            Vulgarity doesn’t mean negativity. Vulgar movies typically aren’t anywhere near as nauseating as a religious movie, where any redeeming message is drowned out by how disgustingly sappy, preachy, and downright patronizing it all is.

          • Barrel Rider

            I think I made my point clear when I said many people, as is made evident by the success of this “religious” movie, are sick and weary of all the garbage and filth in so many movies today–regardless of a hint of a positive message–that even with all sappy or preachy-ness they appreciate a film reaching to inspire, encourage, or uplift people. Just as you dislike the occasional Christian film clearly a large percentage of movie-goers aren’t all into what Hollywood bombards us with on a regular basis.
            Like I said, the occasional uplifting movie is a breath of fresh air surrounding all the trash that Hollywood continuously doles out.

          • Godzilla Never Backs Down

            “as is made evident by the success of this “religious” movie”

            THE BOX OFFICE HAS ITS WORST LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN 15 YEARS

          • Barrel Rider

            Keep in mind we’re talking about a LOW-BUDGET faith-based film. Pay attention closely: A $3 million budget that is projected “to make $50 million by the end of its run.” Yes it’s the worst for the BOX OFFICE and labor day wknd in 15 years overall, but for this film in particular that is considered a SUCCESS. This article even calls it a “hit.”
            Reading the post in its entirety might’ve helped you realize that.

          • Godzilla Never Backs Down

            The movie having such a low budget that it’s virtually impossible for it to not turn a profit doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of people don’t want to see it, which is what we were talking about.

          • Barrel Rider

            It’s not true that a low-budget film is expected to turn a profit. In fact, the exact opposite is expected. We Are Your Friends a small budget film starring Zac Efron was released labor day weekend and was a box office bomb. Some estimates say it was the worst opening of all time. That is one example of a small film projected to make a profit and failing to do so. Couple that with the fact that the films lead, Zac Efron, is considered a substantial box office draw.

            Any studio is taking a huge risk in picking up a low-budget film with an un-known director, first time and relatively un-known cast, plus a faith based theme but, that is exactly what Sony did as one of War Room’s major distributors. Now why would Sony make such a risky investment? It’s simple, these movies have been gaining traction since the release of the first one. Search it up.
            The point is a large majority of people did want to see it otherwise it wouldn’t have ended up where it did–including being the number 1 film in the country on the worst labor day weekend in 15 years. There were many other films which could’ve easily trumped this film. For example, Straight Outta Compton was considered a viable contender, however, a majority of the audience preferred a different type of film and WR won the box office. That is how a films success is measured.

            You ask Sony if the investment was worth it and they’ll tell you yes, 16x over. Expect more films like this one to come.

          • Barrel Rider

            I might add, because of that success, Sony is well invested and there will be more “religious” movies to come.

          • jglugla@mail.com

            It is possible to do a religious film without hitting the audience over the head, and at the same time moving people. I would give Shawshank Redemption as a clear example,

          • Barrel Rider

            True. But you have to keep in mind that these religious films are made for a specific audience. Those outside of that target audience wont respond the same way. If they do, its better for them.
            This film would not have done as well as it has if it weren’t for the positive response it has been getting.

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