Box Office: Newcomers Disappoint on Labor Day Weekend

the light between oceans

(SEPTEMBER 2 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2016 estimates/SEPTEMBER 2 – SEPTEMBER 5, 2016 estimates)

  1. Don’t Breathe (Week 2) – $15,800,000/$19,550,000
  2. Suicide Squad (Week 5) – $9,825,000/$12,800,000
  3. Kubo and the Two Strings (Week 3) – $6,391,000/$8,537,000
  4. Pete’s Dragon (Week 4) – $6,227,000/$8,583,000
  5. Sausage Party (Week 4) – $5,200,000/$6,500,000
  6. Bad Moms (Week 6) – $4,760,000/$6,000,000
  7. War Dogs (Week 3) – $4,745,000/$6,025,000
  8. The Light Between Oceans (Opening) – $4,615,000/$5,910,000
  9. Hell or High Water (Week 4) – $4,450,000/$5,600,000
  10. Mechanic: Resurrection (Week 2) – $4,374,000/$5,550,000


  • dont-breathe-1Audiences hungered for more of the same after their Labor Day barbecues. Last week’s horror winner, Don’t Breathe stayed atop the box office in its second weekend. Due to the holiday weekend most likely, the film had a scant 40% drop (remarkable for a horror film, as they tend to be frontloaded) over the three day period. At the end of the holiday weekend, the film had raised its total to $54 million. Against a micro $9.9 million production budget, Sony was able to sneak in one last win as the summer movie season closed out.
  • Reviews and public sentiment couldn’t stop people from seeing Suicide Squad in its fifth weekend in theaters. The film only fell 19% over the three day period, proving to be a late summer title that people still are interested in seeing. By the end of Labor Day weekend, the film had passed $300 million domestic. Adding in foreign grosses, which continue to flow in, the worldwide total of $675 million. A worldwide total around $750 million by the end of its run does not seem out of the question, but merely a matter of time.
  • Laika’s well-reviewed animated film Kubo and the Two Strings continued to have legs with the family audiences. The stop motion animated film dropped a mere 18% over the three day period. Its domestic total now stands at $36 million. This helps to close the gap between it and Paranorman, which opened at the same time in 2012. Still, against a $60 million budget, the film is not going to be able to get out of the red unless future foreign openings are robust.
  • The film that experienced the best bump out of Labor Day was another family title, Pete’s Dragon. Disney’s latest remake dropped only 16% over three days, but jumped 15% when Labor Day is factored in. This was the highest Labor Day jump for a film that didn’t experience an expansion. In fact, the movie was able to jump back into the top 5 for the weekend after falling to number 6 last week. The more modest Disney picture now stands at $66 million domestic and $94 million worldwide. With only a $65 million budget, it can keep plugging away to break even.
  • Another animated film rounds out the top 5. However, the R-rated Sausage Party had a more normal 30% drop over the three day period. Still, the raunchy supermarket comedy raised its total domestic box office to $89 million. The film will inch past the $100 million domestic mark over the next few weeks. This is still a remarkable feat for a film that cost a mere $19 million to make.
  • Summer’s breakout comedy hit Bad Moms yet again saw the smallest week over week decline for a film over the three day weekend. The film dropped 14% over Labor Day weekend. This brought the film over the $100 million mark domestically ($103 million to be specific). Over the past six weeks, the film has nearly quintupled its opening weekend of $23 million. It might even be able to stick around the top 10 for a couple more weeks at this rate.
  • Miles Teller and Jonah Hill’s latest film War Dogs dropped another 32% over the Labor Day weekend. By the end of the weekend, it raised its total to $36 million. It’s an unspectacular, but not necessarily encouraging performance that will likely lose a small sum for Warner Bros.
  • The most high profile opening of the weekend failed to find an audience wash up on its shore. The Light Between Oceans bombed in its opening. The film played in 1,500 theaters, only to muster $4.6 million in three days and $5.9 million in four days. While the per theater average of $3,077 for three days was the third best of the top 10, it was still playing at roughly half of what tracking suggested it would do. A price tag of $20 million isn’t so high, but the film will be unlikely to clear it for a profit.
  • Elsewhere in the specialty market, Hell or High Water was able to capitalize on the past few weeks of successful expansion in adding 394 theaters. Currently at 1,303 theaters, the film grew 25% over three days. It successfully outgrossed Love and Friendship to be the largest specialty release of the year. Its domestic total stands at $15.7 million currently and shows little sign of slowing down.
  • Labor Day weekend was not enough to save Jason Statham. Mechanic: Resurrection had the steepest drop of the top 10, losing 41% of its business in its second weekend. While comparable to the drop for Don’t Breathe, it did not have a large opening to help with the sting. In essence, it failed to capitalize on the holiday weekend. At $15.6 million, it should continue to drop until it squeaks past $20 million.


  • urlThe opening success story for the weekend belonged to the Spanish language comedy No Manches Frida. It may have opened in only 362 theaters, but it was able to gross $3.6 million over a three day period ($10,207 per theater average) and $4.6 including Labor Day. The film obviously looked to recreate the runaway success Instructions Not Included experienced back in 2013. That film opened in a similar theater count to $7.8 million on its way to $44 million domestic. While that film opened to over twice the dollar amount this film made, this opening is still a success. It shows yet again there is a market for foreign cinema if you reach the right audience.
  • The news was toxic for the sci-fi thriller Morgan. The film achieved the seventh worst opening weekend of all time for a film opening in more than 2,000 theaters. Grossing $1.9 million over the first three days of release in 2,020 theaters, the film ended up with a pitiful per theater average of $980. The summer has seen plenty of low budget horror successes. In the wake of this, it proves the genre is not bulletproof. In fact, it won’t be able to get halfway to its $8 million budget. All in all, this performance is an embarrassment for Fox.
  • Many films from earlier in the summer decided to come back to theaters in order to squeeze out the last bit of money from audiences. Despite some significant expansions, none of them got much out of the last ditch attempt. Finding Dory was able to garner the most money, driving $1.9 million of sales in three days and $2.6 million over four. Still, it did expand to 2,075 theaters, the most of any of the last ditch expansions, and only mustered a $932 per theater average. Yet, there is not much to fuss about when the film currently has made $482 million domestically and $944 million worldwide. Ghostbusters went back to 1,091 theaters, but wasn’t able to salvage itself. It added another $1.3 million over four days to bring its total to $126.5 million domestic. Even Ice Age: Collision Course, Nerve, Hillary’s America and Independence Day: Resurgence all added between 200 – 300 theaters, but didn’t see three day per theater averages cross $1,000. It was a solid last ditch idea that didn’t move the needle considerably for any title.
  • The most distressing expansion came from last week’s poor performer Hands of Stone. The filmmakers added 1,201 theaters for a total of 2,011 theaters. This was an effort to reach more minority moviegoers, as they saw the film tracking well with that audience. However, it actually lost 27% of its business despite more than doubling its screen count. The film walked away with a three day take of $1.2 million and a four day take of $1.6 million. This was good enough for a per theater average of $629 and a domestic total gross of $4 million.