Films

Labor Day Weekend Box Office Worst Since 1999


The Labor Day weekend 2017 box office is poised to be the lowest earning since 1999. This is but the latest addition to what has been an overall down year for box office attendance in general, and a cap off to a summer full of purported tentpole movies that ended up flopping. Unless late-year releases like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League see a huge surge in attendance levels, 2017 is set to see the least tickets sold since back in 1992.

One large factor in the terrible Labor Day weekend box office performance is the lack of any big new studio releases, with the only new offerings being small independent releases, or specialty titles like a 40th anniversary re-release of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Marvel’s Inhumans also debuted in IMAX, but between its terrible critical reviews, deluge of negative appraisals from audiences on social media, and rock bottom financial projections, it’s probably not to dwell on that one for long.

According to The Wrap, this Labor Day weekend is set to close out with a gross somewhere between $90 and $100 million dollars, thus becoming the first such holiday weekend to earn less than $100 million since 1999. That weekend saw M. Night Shyamalan’s twisty ghost story The Sixth Sense take the #1 spot in its fifth weekend with $29.2 million. Like this one, 1999’s Labor Day weekend also saw a dearth of new releases.

On the plus side, The Wrap says that some industry analysts had been telling them to expect even worse final numbers than these, but strong holdovers from last week – like returning #1 film The Hitman’s Bodyguard – prevented that outcome. The biggest short term drop actually went to horror prequel Annabelle: Creation, falling from $7.7 to $7.3 million week to week. Of course, that film has already grossed over $250 million on a $15 million budget, so one presumes Warner Bros. is too busy swimming in profits to care much.

Thankfully, the box office outlook finally looks to improve next week, thanks to the arrival of IT. The R-rated adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is expected to make around $60 million during its opening weekend, setting a new record for an R-rated horror film opening, as well as breaking the record for biggest September opening. For Hollywood’s sake, here’s hoping Pennywise helps the rest of the box office float, instead of continuing to sink.

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