We’ve arrived at summer’s final frame and, in terms of the box office, the season is ending with a whimper. This is shaping up to be the lowest three-day Labor Day weekend in at least a decade, with not one title expected to top $10 million by Sunday. The last time that happened was way back in 2004, when the average North American ticket price was just $6.21 (compared to about $8.60 this year).
Even within this depressing overall picture, there are a handful of films that should have something to be proud of this weekend… relatively speaking. Not among them, surprising though that seems, is The Transporter Refueled. The fourth film in the Transporter series (and the first without star Jason Statham), managed to pull off a surprise win on Friday – barely. With an estimated $2.4 million from 3,434 locations, Refueled edged out War Room for first place by less than $100,000. The film is looking at a high-end projection of $8 million through Sunday. That’s down from $12 million for Transporter 3 in 2008.
The movie that looks strong this holiday frame is War Room, the faith-based drama that opened in second place last weekend. Sony added another 391 locations for the film’s sophomore frame, bringing its theatre count up to 1,526. The boost helped War Room claim an estimated $2.31 million on Friday, which puts it on track for approximately $9 million through Sunday. That might be enough to deny Straight Outta Compton a fourth consecutive win, but with estimates this low and this close no clear winner is obvious.
Entering its fourth weekend, Straight Outta Compton earned an estimated $2.23 million on Friday. Projections for the three-day Labor Day frame put the biopic at just over $9 million – barely enough to squeeze past War Room for first place. Even if it’s denied a fourth win, Compton should hit the $150 mark by the end of the four-day holiday weekend.
Though it came in behind The Transporter Refueled on Friday, the R-rated A Walk in the Woods appears to be this weekend’s strongest new title. The first nationwide release from indie-distributor Broad Green Features, A Walk in the Woods opened on Wednesday and took in $1.16 million. That was good enough to give the Robert Redford–Nick Nolte comedy first place for the day, though it was overtaken by Compton one day later. With an estimated $2.19 million from 1,849 locations yesterday, A Walk in the Woods is expected to bring in about $8 million for the three-day Labor Day weekend. That’s in-line with the projection for Refueled but, because of the difference in theatre counts and marketing, A Walk will come out looking far stronger.
Here’s Friday’s top five films, based on studio estimates:
|1.||The Transporter Refueled||$2,400,000||$2.4|
|3.||Straight Outta Compton||$2,230,000||$141.1|
|4.||A Walk in the Woods||$2,193,000||$4.25|
|5.||Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation||$1,675,000||$174.9|