Box office: Hitman's Bodyguard to threepeat over tepid Labor Day weekend
A monumentally slow holiday weekend looms over the movie industry, perhaps the most fitting end to a lackluster summer frame that saw aging franchises and seemingly sturdy blockbusters alike failing to ignite seasonal ticket sales.
How bad will things get in the coming days? Check out EW’s Sept. 1-4 box office predictions below.
1. The Hitman’s Bodyguard — $9 million
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are again set to take the top spot over a sluggish stretch, with their action-comedy hybrid poised to add an additional $8 million-$9 million to its healthy total when Labor Day grosses are factored in. Mainstream audiences have little else to choose from when it comes to new wide releases, so they’ll opt for the most prominent title on the market by default for the third week in a row.
2. Annabelle: Creation — $7 million
Having bagged $218 million worldwide on a budget of $15 million, Annabelle: Creation is also just a few million shy of the domestic take of its 2014 predecessor. This weekend Creation should move ahead of the original Annabelle to become the third-highest-grossing film in the Conjuring-verse, thanks to a lack of competition that would, at any other time of the year, steal away large chunks of its audience.
3. Wind River — $5 million
Celebrated Sicario and Hell or High Water screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s first major feature as a director continues to impress as it expands to more theaters nationwide, and it has the potential to stack an additional $4 million-$5 million on top of its already solid total by the end of the four-day frame.
The film’s robust performance at the domestic box office — bolstered by enthusiastic reviews — could give it much-needed momentum heading into the awards race ahead. Notably, Hell or High Water opened on the same weekend last year en route to becoming one of the highest-grossing specialty titles of 2016 and receiving an Oscar nod for best picture.
4. Dunkirk — $4.5 million
Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic has emerged as a highlight among studio success stories in the closing weeks of summer. After posting a solid $50 million opening back in July and holding strong through August, the film currently stands at a $413 million worldwide gross (on a $100 million budget). With a slight increase from last weekend’s $4 million gross (thanks to an extra day), Dunkirk will crawl closer to $180 million domestically by the end of the holiday frame.
5. Leap! — $4 million
The Weinstein Co.’s animated tale about a young girl trying to make it in Paris as a professional ballet dancer didn’t stick its landing with critics, and audiences similarly shunned the French-Canadian production last week, as the film topped out at a mere $4.7 million over its first three days. With an extra day of grosses lined up, Leap will probably build minimally on last weekend’s take as the most prominent family-oriented title in theaters.
Outside the top five, Weinstein will (probably) unveil its long-gestating period drama Tulip Fever to approximately 600 theaters on Friday. Plagued by incessant delays and canceled pre-screenings, Tulip Fever was originally slated for release in 2014 but has yet to see the light of day. While this doesn’t bode well for the film’s critical prospects, general audiences are less likely to have heard about Tulip Fever‘s woes, and it should be able to clear a $2,000 per-screen average over the soft holiday weekend, for a gross in the $1.6 million-$2 million range.
The sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind is also storming back into around 900 theaters for a notable re-release nearly 40 years after its original run, which pulled in a whopping $116.4 million. With nostalgia for beloved properties of years past higher than ever, the film should be able to bag $1 million-$2 million through Labor Day.
Also gunning for audience affection this weekend is the Spanish-language comedy Hazlo Como Hombre (a.k.a. Do It Like an Hombre), about a man dealing with his best friend’s mid-life realization that he’s gay. When films aimed at this specific demographic hit, they hit big. The Spanish-language dramedy Instructions Not Included, for example, took in $44 million back in 2013, while How to Be a Latin Lover — an otherwise average farce that wouldn’t have made much of a splash at the box office — grossed a much higher-than-expected $32 million earlier this year. Hazlo Como Hombre‘s potential to earn that much is severely limited, as it opens at around 370 sites; its grosses will probably end up more in line with 3 Idiotas.