With summer coming to a close and Hollywood having served up one mediocre film after another, the North American box office slumped to its worst level of 2016 over Labor Day weekend. Last week’s hit horror offering Don’t Breathe remained at number one for a second straight time while many of the more well-liked offerings enjoyed the best holds as audiences caught up on movies they heard good things about. New releases were ignored.
Sony easily retained the crown with Don’t Breathe which slipped 41% to an estimated $15.7M pushing the cume up to a sturdy $51.1M. The home invasion thriller has now grossed over five times its low $10M budget and is on track to finish its run near the $80M mark.
Moviegoers were still taking interest in the bad boys (and girls) of DC Comics as Suicide Squad came within striking distance of the $300M mark. The Warner Bros. blockbuster grossed an estimated $10M in its fifth weekend, off 18%, boosting its cume to a rowdy $297.4M. By the end of Labor Day Monday, Squad may just smash the triple century mark on its way to north of $315M.
The Harley Quinn vehicle is already the second highest-grossing movie of all-time to come out of August behind just the $333.2M of fellow bad-guys-become-heroes comic book team-up smash Guardians of the Galaxy from two years ago. Both chose the first weekend of the month as its launching pad. International grosses for Suicide Squad rose to $375.5M this weekend propelling the global cume to $672.9M and that’s with no release in China. Finishing in the neighborhood of $750M seems likely as the final market of Japan is set to open next weekend. Had Squad been allowed into China, a global final of over $800M probably would have resulted. By comparison, Guardians finished at $774M including over $95M from China.
The rest of the films in the top ten this weekend were left picking up scraps with each grossing between $4-7M over three days. A pair of well-liked family-oriented films followed with good holds and an estimated $6.5M a piece. Disney’s Pete’s Dragon slipped 13% and has banked $64.2M to date – not too big for this pricey remake. Focus saw its animated hit Kubo and the Two Strings slide by only 18% with a cume to date of $34.3M. Breaking $50M like past Laika films is possible. Dropping 30% to an estimated $5.3M for fifth place was Sausage Party which has taken in a solid $88.4M for Sony. Joining the century club is still a possibility.
Disney’s release of the DreamWorks drama The Light Between Oceans was met with a soft debut grossing an estimated $5M from 1,500 locations for a mild $3,323 average. The PG-13 title was not given too big of a push and arrived in the marketplace with little buzz. Studio data showed that the crowd was 66% female and a whopping 92% was over 25. 44% of the audience was older than 50. Reviews were mixed and the CinemaScore grade was a decent B+.
Bad Moms became the first R-rated comedy of 2016 to crack $100M as the popular and leggy pic slipped just 15% in its sixth round to an estimated $4.7M boosting the cume to a robust $102.5M. STX should see the $20M production reach about $115M by the end. The military weapons-themed comedy War Dogs fell 33% to an estimated $4.7M putting Warner Bros. at $35.2M to date.
Expanding well and jumping into the top ten for the first time was Hell or High Water with an estimated $4.3M and a respectable $3,454 average from 1,303 locations. CBS and Lionsgate have grossed $14.7M with their critically acclaimed film. Mechanic: Resurrection rounded out the top ten with an estimated $4.3M, down 43%, and a $14.4M sum for Lionsgate.
Sci-fi fans had no interest in Kate Mara’s Morgan which opened poorly with an estimated $2M from 2,020 theaters for a dismal $970 average for Fox. Lionsgate scored the best average of the weekend among films in national release opening its Mexican comedy No Manches Frida to an estimated $3.7M from 362 sites for a potent $10,083 average.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $67.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of Labor Day weekend which was up 12% from last year when War Room rose to number one with just $9.5M; but down 19% from 2014 when Guardians of the Galaxy was in the top spot with $17.1M.
Follow Gitesh on Twitter.