Are studios missing a trick? Another tepid Labor Day weekend is won by Lionsgate, as ‘Angel Has Fallen’ drops $15m through Monday
Somehow, this Labor Day Box Office weekend was even worse than expected, earning only $86.9m by Sunday night – the 2nd lowest-grossing weekend of the year so far. While excuses are made for the 1st weekend in February (it’s the Super Bowl, after all) that earned just $73.5m, a studio inquest will surely be held to look into why prime Box Office real estate, consisting of a 4-day holiday in early September, continues to be overlooked during scheduling. This weekend saw new entrants ‘Don’t Let Go’ and ‘Bennett’s War’ earn just $3m and $600k apiece, and although the re-emergence of a certain killer clown next week tells part of the story of studio-reluctance, are studios missing out?
How did the new releases get on?
As mentioned, both ‘Don’t Let Go’ and ‘Bennett’s War’, 2 original yet poorly-received wide releases, bombed on arrival with a combined $3.6m by Monday night. No surprises here regarding their poor performances; both opened in under 1,000 cinemas with limited marketing, a blatant studio dump. ‘Don’t Let Go’ especially draws similarities to recent Labor Day bombs in ‘Kin’, and ‘The Light Between the Oceans’, with their bankable stars (David Oyelowo, Michael B. Jordan, Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender respectively) proving not enough for studios to deem the projects worth promoting heavily.
While ‘Don’t Let Go’ at least benefits from a $5m budget (and not the $30m of ‘Kin’ and ‘Oceans’), the scent of a missed trick still lingers, especially considering the 14 new wide releases in the last 3 weeks. Surely one of ‘Ready or Not’, ‘Blinded By the Light’, or even ’47 Meters Down 2’ could’ve benefited from a larger opening on the holiday period?
Or perhaps studios do know best: that we’ve just never gone to the cinema on the Labor Day holiday weekend. Exhibit A is the period’s biggest opening, a paltry $30.6m earned by the 2007 ‘Halloween’ remake, with the next largest just $21.1m (2012’s ‘The Possession’).
Who’s to say in this chicken-and-egg situation? Whilst the historic dump months (January and February) have recently seen success with the likes of ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Black Panther’, this weekend’s corridor has continuously remained empty, without a clear understanding over who or what caused the cycle of poor Box Office receipts outside of the ‘back-to-school’ excuse (even though most U.S. schoolchildren are back in school by mid-August). There isn’t even an ‘It’ every September 8th to use as a warning – ‘It’ currently stands as the only film to have opened over $100m in the entire month. Studios are missing out on a potential goldmine here, it’s just a case of who stumbles upon it 1st.
How did the others do?
As expected, ‘Angel Has Fallen’ ran away with its 2nd win in as many weekends, but it was a tepid performance from the action-thriller in an equally poor weekend. The Lionsgate release earned $11.8m between Sunday, and by Monday had grossed just a shade under $15m for a $44m running domestic total. Ahead of ‘London Has Fallen’ by $4m at the same point in its run, we could be in store for a near-$70m finish – the 2nd best of the franchise – if next weekend’s ‘It: Chapter 2’ doesn’t steal away its audience.
The consecutive weekend wins marks the 1st for Lionsgate since their triumph with ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ over the same period. Both films opened to an identical $21.4m, and saw a similar test in the 1st ‘It’ in its 4th weekend, dropping by 52%. If ‘Angel’ even straddles the 50% mark, then it’s a strong outing for the film that continues to showcase Lionsgate’s penchant for crowd-pleasing action flicks.
One of the other wide releases from last weekend, ‘Overcomer’, earned $5.7m in 3 days, and $7.8m in 4, to further establish itself as the 2nd biggest Christian drama in the U.S. this year, with $19.3m. Although reaching top dog ‘Breakthrough’ is perhaps out of reach with its $41m total, Affirm studios can at least be proud of the fact that their $5m production is assured to turn a tidy profit. Finally, horror-comedy ‘Ready or Not’ received a welcomed holiday boost, grossing $5.9m and $7m in the 3 and 4 day stretch respectively, for a strong $21.5m total.
Other notables from the weekend
- Universal’s ‘Good Boys’ is now the 2nd biggest domestic comedy of the year with $59.1m, overtaking ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ ($48.8m) and ‘What Men Want’ ($54.6m).
- Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ has risen to 7th place in the list of highest grossing films in global history, with its $1.56bn beating out ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Furious 7’ ($1.52bn each).
- China now stands as ‘Hobbs & Shaw’s largest market, with $166m.
|Rank||Last Week Rank||Film||STUDIO||Total U.S. Gross||Weekend Gross||Weekend drop (3-DAY)||JUMPCUT’s prediction||Week number|
|1||1||Angel Has Fallen||Lionsgate||$43.9m||$11.8m (3-day)
|2||2||Good Boys||Universal||$59.1m||$9.5m (3)
|3||5||The Lion King||Disney||$523.5m||$6.7m (3)
|4||4||Hobbs & Shaw||Universal||$159m||$6.4m (3)
|5||6||Ready or Not||Fox-Disney||$21.5m||$5.9m (3)
|7||8||Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark||Lionsgate||$58.9m||$5m (3)
|8||15||Spider-Man: Far From Home||Sony||$386m||$4.3m (3)
|9||7||The Angry Birds Movie 2||Sony||$35.4m||$4.2m (3)
|10||10||Once Upon a Time in Hollywood||Sony||$131m||$4.1m (3)
Please note that these are estimated figures.