Weekend Box Office (September 2 - 5, 2016)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND 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. The top ten fell to just $66.4M over the Friday-to-Sunday period coming in below this year's previous low of $75.4M over Super Bowl weekend in February.

Sony easily retained the crown with Don't Breathe which slipped to an estimated $19.6M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday session pushing the cume up to a sturdy $55M. The home invasion thriller has now grossed over five times its low $10M budget and is on track to finish its run with around $80M.

Moviegoers were still taking interest in the bad boys (and girls) of DC Comics as Suicide Squad broke the $300M mark on Labor Day. The Warner Bros. blockbuster grossed an estimated $12.8M over four days in its fifth weekend boosting its cume to a rowdy $300.2M. Squad may just find itself on course to reach an incredible $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 $675.7M 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 alone.

The rest of the films in the top ten this weekend were left picking up scraps with each grossing between $5-9M over four days. A pair of well-liked family-oriented films followed with good holds. Disney's Pete's Dragon took in an estimated $8.6M over the long weekend and has banked $66.3M to date - not too big for this pricey remake. Focus saw its animated hit Kubo and the Two Strings come in close behind with an estimated $8.5M with a cume to date of $36.4M. Breaking $50M like past Laika films is possible. Dropping to an estimated $6.5M for fifth place was Sausage Party which has taken in a solid $89.6M for Sony. Joining the century club may be in the cards.

The military weapons-themed comedy War Dogs fell to an estimated $6M putting Warner Bros. at $36.5M to date. Bad Moms became the first R-rated comedy of 2016 to crack $100M as the popular and leggy pic collected an estimated $6M in its sixth round boosting the cume to a robust $103.8M. STX should see the $20M production reach about $115M by the end.

Disney's release of the DreamWorks drama The Light Between Oceans was met with a soft debut grossing an estimated $5.9M from 1,500 locations for a mild $3,940 average across four days. 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+.

Expanding well and jumping into the top ten for the first time was Hell or High Water with an estimated $5.6M and a respectable $4,298 average from 1,303 locations. CBS and Lionsgate have grossed $15.8M with their critically acclaimed film. Mechanic: Resurrection rounded out the top ten with an estimated $5.6M and a $15.7M sum for Lionsgate.

Sci-fi fans had no interest in Kate Mara's Morgan which opened poorly with an estimated $2.4M from 2,020 theaters for a dismal $1,203 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 $4.7M from 362 sites for a potent $12,845 average.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $66.4M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of Labor Day weekend which was up 11% from last year when War Room rose to number one with just $9.5M; but down 20% from 2014 when Guardians of the Galaxy was in the top spot with $17.1M.

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Watch the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Compared to projections, Don't Breathe and Suicide Squad were on target with my $19M and $13M four-day forecasts. The Light Between Oceans and Morgan both opened below my respective low predictions of $7M and $6M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when When the Bough Breaks, Sully, The Disappointments Room, and The Wild Life all open.


Last Updated: September 5, 2016 at 9:00PM ET

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