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Invincible Remains so as New Releases Struggle

September 6th, 2006

Labor Day long weekend is the official end of the movie summer season and this year it ended on a high note. While the 3-day total was 1.4% lower than last weekend, the $102 million it earned was 8.7% better than the same weekend last year. Adding in Monday and the box office reached $129 million, up 9.2% from last year.

Invincible didn't beat expectations by a huge margin as it earned $12.2 million over the 3-day weekend and $15.4 million including Monday. But that was more than enough to take top spot on the charts this weekend. Overall the film has earned $38.1 million and should have no trouble topping fellow inspirational sports story, Glory Road very shortly. The real question is whether the start of the NFL season will help or hurt its box office? Will the added publicity help or will the prospect of watching the real thing diminish the excitement of the movie? Regardless which is true, the film has already beaten original expectations and has to be considered a box office success.

Crank missed Thursday's predictions by a significant margin, earning less over four days than it was expected to earn over three. However, its $10.5 million / $12.9 million still puts it fourth on all-time list for Labor Day openings; granted, only six movies have opened with more than $10 million over the four-day weekend with Transporter 2 holding the record at $20.1 million. As for the film's long-term potential, its reviews are above Jason Statham's career average but odds are it won't last too long in theatres before becoming a bigger hit on the home market.

Tracking seemed to put The Wicker Man on pace for first place, but in many ways it was the most disappointing player of the weekend. Not only did it slide into third place, it too earned less in four days that most expected it would earn in three with $9.6 million / $11.7 million. Add in reviews that continued to sink, reaching just 13% positive, and you have a film that could disappear fast from theatres. The good news was it had the fifth biggest Labor Day opening of all time behind Crank. But unlike that film, it won't be able to match its production budget theatrically.

Had Little Miss Sunshine earned $7.6 million from Friday to Monday it would have been looked at as a good performance. However, it didn't. It earned $7.6 million from Friday to Sunday and $9.6 million including the holiday. Overall the film has now pulled in $35.7 million, putting it just ahead of Take the Lead and just behind The Sentinel on this year's chart. Also, the film had the second best per theatre average in the top ten, or the top twenty for that matter, and could still see its theatre count expand slightly this weekend.

The only film to have a better per theatre average was The Illusionist, which was a surprise entry in the top five with $6.3 million / $8.1 million, more than double its total box office prior to the weekend. And with some of the best reviews in the top ten, it should still have plenty of life left in it. Whether or not it has peaked depends on whether Yari Film Group can expand it further and, if so, by how much.

While Crossover missed the top ten, it did manage to beat greatly lowered expectations with $3.8 million / $4.4 million during its opening weekend. It performed even worse with the critics, managing not a single positive reviews. Given this and how quickly the film started to fade over the weekend, it will likely disappear from theatres in just a few weeks.

Finally we reach the sophomore class, only one of which made the top ten. Beerfest lost nearly half its three-day total with $3.7 million / $4.6 million placing it 13th / 12th place. How to Eat Fried Worms had the best week-to-week drop off of the three, down a mere 26% to $3.0 million while its 4-day total was $4.0 million. Lastly there's Idlewild, which had the typical niche market drop-off; over the 3-day weekend it fell nearly 60% to $2.3 million while it managed just $3.0 million including Monday.

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Filed under: Little Miss Sunshine, Invincible, The Illusionist, Crank, The Wicker Man, Beerfest, How to Eat Fried Worms, Idlewild, Crossover