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Box Office Struggles over Labor Day Weekend

September 7th, 2004

Labor Day Weekend is generally the second slowest weekend of the year (the slowest weekend of the year is usually the weekend after Labor Day). This year we saw more films open than usually do, but none of them opened well enough to be considered a real success. This resulted in a serious drop-off from last weekend of 14.4%. The year-to-year comparisons are a little off since Labor Day occurred a week earlier last year. Compared to Labor Day 2003, 2004 was off 13.5% for the 3-day frame and 14.4% for the 4-days.

Jet Li's movies tend to open well but then crash, and crash fast. I was expecting Hero to escape that fate, and for the most part it did. It did lose more than half its box office over the 3-day portion of the weekend landing at $8.8 million, but it rebounded on Monday and finished just shy of predictions with $11.5 million. And that was easily enough to finish first for the second weekend in a row.

Number 2 for the weekend was Without a Paddle, which is showing surprising legsfor a film released during late August. The film took in $7.1 million / $9.0 million during the Labor Day Weekend and had the best week-to-week performance in the top five.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid performed better than most horror films have done of late, but it still dropped 50% at box office to $6.4 million over the 3-day weekend. Taking Monday into account and the film earned $8.0 million.

The first of four new releases this week was Paparazzi and it could only manage fourth place. Its box office at $6.1 / $7.9 million was better than expected, but its reviews continue to be abhorrent and currently sit at just 7% positive.

Rounding out the top five is Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement with $5.6 million / $7.5 million. One of the few films released in August that has shown any kind of legs, it should still have a shot at $100 million. But with school starting, it won't be able to rely on weekday numbers anymore.

Just missing the top five was the second new release, Wicker Park. The film also earned horrible reviews, but managed to marginally beat expectations with $5.5 million / $6.8 million.

Out of the four openings this past weekend, Vanity Fair's opening was the closest to being a success. The film has the best reviews for the new films at just shy of 50% positive. Also, its box office earnings, while only good enough for 9th for the 3-day portion and 8th for the long weekend, were strong enough for the best per theatre average in the top ten. That might be enough for the film to expand over the coming weekend allowing it to maintain most of its $4.8 million / $6.3 million opening.

Rounding out the new releases was The Cookout, which placed in either 8th or 9th place depending on if you take Monday into account. The only aspect worse than its $5.0 million. $6.2 million weekend opening is its reviews, which currently sit at only 6% positive.

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Filed under: The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Without a Paddle, Jet Li's Hero, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Vanity Fair, Paparazzi, Wicker Park, The Cookout