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Weekend Releases are no Labor of Love

August 30th, 2007

The Labor Day long weekend is the final weekend of the summer, but it is not the strongest. In fact, it is widely considered the weakest long weekend of the year and the three films opening this weekend are unlikely to change that perception.

There are some who think Halloween is tracking for a record-breaking weekend. That's not so outrageous since the biggest Labor Day long weekend opener is Transporter 2 at a mere $20.10 million over four days (the best showing for the weekend overall was The Sixth Sense at $29.27 million). This isn't an unobtainable figure, however, there are a lot of signs suggest the film won't make it. For instance, this is a film called Halloween, yet it is opening in late August; a late August release date is a terrible release date regardless of the circumstances. However, it is especially bad when the film is named for a time of year and it is not being release during that time of year. This strongly suggests the studio doesn't have a lot of faith in the movie. Also, remakes, especially horror remakes have suffered as of late. The Hills Have Eyes 2, Black Christmas, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, etc. It is also important to learn that when it comes to these types of films, adding a back-story to explain the villain is the wrong way to go. The unknown is always scarier than the known and shiny a light on Mike Myers, for instance, dilutes the terror. This explains why what few reviews there are, are overwhelmingly negative. In fact, even reviews from genre fans have been negative. That said, the film still has the inside track on top spot and could crack $20 million over 4 days. I see it doing business closer to Jeepers Creepers 2 at $18 million and I wouldn't be totally shocked it is barely topped last year's Crank.

Superbad continues its run toward $100 million this weekend and while it won't make it there by Monday, it will should still have a strong weekend, placing second with $14 million. This might be enough to top the charts if Halloween shows any weakness. Its running total should rise to just over $90 million, which should be enough to put the film in the black and it is rare for film to make it there during its domestic run.

Like the above film, The Bourne Ultimatum is riding strong reviews, which is helping it earn strong legs. This weekend it should place in the top five for the fifth time during its run with roughly $10 million over the weekend, which will leave it a rounding error below $200 million during its run.

The final days of summer should help Mr. Bean's Holiday at the box office as the family friendly film should attract audiences wanting to see one last movie before the back to school rush hits. I expect the film to fall less than 10% to $9 million over the weekend, which would put it on pace for $35 million or so.

Balls of Fury stumbled out of the gate on Wednesday, picking up just $1.69 million in 2,810 theaters for a per theater average of just $601. To put this into perspective, Superbad earned $1.88 million and its been out for nearly two full weeks now. Hell, The Bourne Ultimatum earned $979,000 the same day and its been in release for nearly a month now. The only upside here is maybe, just maybe, fans were not aware it was opening on Wednesday and will show up in large numbers on Friday. (It is hard to explain how they could have missed it since the movie has been advertised heavily, but I'd blame it on the... chemical enhancement they take with their comedy.) Then again, it is equally possible that reviews will result in poor word-of-mouth causing it to drop-off sharply tonight, which would kill the film's chances entirely. Most likely the film will pull in just over $7 million over the weekend and just under $10 million overall, but at least its Unrated DVD should prove to be a big seller.

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The final wide release of the week is Death Sentence, a revenge flick with almost no critical appeal and possibly no target audience. The film is opening in only 1,822 theaters without a lot of fanfare and while it has a small shot at fifth place, it will likely miss that mark and earn just $6 million over the next four days and roughly $13 million in total.


Filed under: The Bourne Ultimatum, Superbad, Halloween, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Balls of Fury, Death Sentence