I literally thought about titling this week’s entry “Fuck It”. That’s basically what the studios are saying heading into Labor Day weekend. Everyone is too scared to even attempt to do something this weekend. The widest release at the box office this weekend is the 700 screen rerelease of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. No shit. Last weekend, Box Office Mojo declared it the worst weekend in 15 years. Well, we’re about to make last weekend look sexy in comparison.
Unless the Spanish language Do It Like A Hombre is some under the radar phenomenon waiting to happen, this weekend is likely to see not a single damn film over 6M for three days. Add into the mix that Harvey is still leaving sections of the country without functioning movie theatres, and this weekend really is just a reflection of how disappointing most of the summer has been. You could almost call this a box office purge, where the studios are letting their films die, in order to freshen up the theatres for their fall releases, some of which are expected to do quite well.
We are a week away from It, which is projected to do as high as 60M in its first weekend. That’s an incredible number for September, mainly because it isn’t just record breaking, it’s record smashing. As I pointed out already, a 60M opening would beat the September’s highest opener of all time (Hotel Transylvania 2) by 12M. With that kind of buzz, no wonder studios have given up two whole weeks prior to stay out of It’s way.
But I have a hard time believing that one decent movie couldn’t have done well this weekend. With none of our new releases being traditionally wide releases, there are going to be mid to small size markets that don’t even get a new movie this weekend. I live in a fairly major city, and there are theatres in my market that didn’t pick up a single new film this weekend. Also, I think there’s something very alarming about Tulip Fever, which almost seems like an Oscar bait type film… very artsy… with a well respected cast (including Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Judi Dench, and Dane DeHaan), which as of my posting (literally the day before it releases) has no rotten tomatoes score. This is the kind of film that studios shouldn’t be afraid to show to critics, yet you have a review embargo that is so offensively close to the actual release, I’m convinced that you know you’re serving us a giant turd filled with Oscar nominees.
Our other new release worth mentioning is a rerelease. Now, Close Encounters is a classic, and I’m not going to take anything away from it. It’s getting some screens… sure. But it’s worth noting that Terminator 2 only made 552K last weekend in it’s highly publicized 3D rerelease. That film has a bit more mass appeal, and it didn’t do very well. I don’t know if Close Encounters can really hope for much more, except it does have about twice the screens.
There’s also Marvel’s Inhumans, which is getting an IMAX release only. It’s hard to gauge how much money this will make, because it is kind of unprecedented. It’s really a TV pilot, that is getting extra attention ahead of its debut in a few weeks. How many people will trot out to theatres this weekend to see Inhumans, when they can see it for free in a few weeks? I just don’t know.
So, we have one new moderate wide release, and it probably is fucking terrible. That’s why I wanted to call this week’s column “Fuck It”, because that’s what we’re getting: Fucked.
1) The Hitman’s Bodyguard- 5.5M Weekend, 51< Total
2) Wind River- 4.5M Weekend, 17M Total
3) Annabelle Creation- 4M Weekend, 86M Total
4) Tulip Fever- 3M Weekend, 3M Total
5) Leap!- 3M Weekend, 10M Total
6) Logan Lucky- 2.5M Weekend, 20M Total
7) Dunkirk- 2.5M Weekend, 177M Total
8) Spider-Man: Homecoming- 2M Weekend, 322M Total
9) Close Encounters Of The Third Kind- 1.5M Weekend, 1.5M Total
10) The Emoji Movie- 1.5M Weekend, 80M Total