September 5, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Hollywood Takes The Holiday Off


Labor Day weekend is always the exhausted last gasp of the summer movie season, but this year the studios didn’t even try.  Partly it’s the effect of August having generally been a disaster in 2015 (last year’s 4-day Labor Day span featured a $22.9M 5th weekend for Guardians of the Galaxy and $15.6M from the 4th for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), but there were also no viable openings for the holiday.

Eventually someone will win the weekend, but at the moment there are 3 titles that should end up with $11-12M by Monday, and according to preliminary numbers at Deadline, all were within $200K of each other on Friday, so any of them could surge just enough for the win.  None of the closely-packed trio actually opened on Friday:  STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (Legendary/Universal) subsided by about 41% from last Friday to $2.3M, WAR ROOM (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) was down about 40% to $2.4M, and A WALK IN THE WOODS (Broad Green), which opened on Wednesday, was at $2.2M.  Compton could benefit over the holiday from people who’ve been hearing about it for weeks and have the opportunity to catch up, War Room will have its pious ticket buyers on Sunday, and Walk appeals to a senior audience that doesn’t rush out to its favored movies, so all of them should have solid multiples for the weekend.  Both War Room and Walk In the Woods are inexpensive productions that should do well for their distributors, while Compton, of course, is a smash that may go over $150M this weekend.

THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED (EuropaCorp/RED) also had a $2.4M Friday, but as this was its opening day and it caters to action fans, it’s expected to be more frontloaded, and to end the weekend a notch behind, at $8-9M.  That would be about the same opening of the original Transporter (below the $16.5M/12.1M starts of the sequels), although with a $30M production budget plus marketing, Refueled would still need substantial overseas performance to keep the franchise going.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (Skydance/China Movie Channel/Alibaba/Paramount) has benefited the most from the slim August pickings, and its Friday-to-Friday drop was under 30% at $1.6M.  It should earn $10M for the 4-day weekend, and looks like it may have a chance to crack $200M in the US.

The only other title to make over $1M on Friday was last week’s NO ESCAPE (Bold/Weinstein), which fell by about 45% from last Friday to $1.3M, and could get to $6.5M by Monday, with a US total of perhaps $30M ahead, a $5M advantage over last year’s late-August The November Man, mostly thanks to the extra week before Labor Day this year.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."