'Don't Breathe' To Lead Labor Day Weekend Over 'Morgan' & 'Light Between Oceans'
SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: With an estimated $4.2 million Don't Breathe is right on track to become the first horror film to top the weekend box office two weeks in a row since Ouija did it back in 2014. The film is looking to crack upwards of $14-15 million for the three-day with a chance at $18 million for the four day. In second is Suicide Squad, continuing its journey to $300 million domestic with another second place finish around $10 million for the three-day and $13-14 million for the four-day after an estimated $2.24 million on Friday from 3,292 theaters.

As for the weekend's two new wide releases, neither is faring well. Dreamworks' The Light Between Oceans pulled in an estimated $1.35 million on Friday from 1,500 theaters, heading toward a three-day weekend around $4.6 million and a four-day around $6 million.

Looking even worse is Fox's Morgan, which won't even crack the weekend top ten after an estimated $615,000 on Friday from 2,020 theaters, heading toward a three-day around $1.8 million and a four-day weekend around $2.3 million. It's looking to be one of the worst openers of the summer and one of the worst openings for a film debuting in over 2,000 theaters.

Finally, in only 362 theaters, Lionsgate's No Manches Frida brought in an estimated $1.06 million on Friday heading toward what is expected to be a $4.4 million, four-day holiday weekend.

You can check out our chart of Friday estimates here and we'll be back tomorrow with a look at the three-day weekend.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: The final weekend of the Summer 2016 movie season is upon us and it will be the lowest grossing weekend of the year so far. No surprise there, Labor Day weekend is the calm before the awards season storm, and not typically known for its blockbuster performances. Nevertheless, this weekend should once again be an improvement over the same weekend last year as Fox's sci-fi feature Morgan ventures into 2,020 theaters while Dreamworks will deliver The Light Between Oceans into 1,500 theaters, though both will be looking at runner-up positions for the weekend as a familiar face will be finishing #1.

At the top of the box office it's very safe to expect last weekend's champ, Screen Gems' Don't Breathe, to score another number one finish. The horror/thriller film delivered an outstanding $26.4 million opening last weekend to go along with an 87% RottenTomatoes score and a "B+" CinemaScore, all of which bodes well for its second weekend holdover. Determining just how well it will play, however, is a bit up in the air. Horror films that have opened over $5 million over the last 15 years have dropped, on average, ~55% in their second weekends and that percentage only increases the further down the rabbit hole you go as horror films opening over $20 million tend to drop around ~58% over their second weekends. Look for Don't Breathe to defy the averages.

This being a holiday weekend and with Don't Breathe holding strong throughout the week, Mojo is anticipating a second weekend drop around 48%. The result of which would be a three-day weekend around $13.7 million and a four-day haul around $17 million, more than enough for a second weekend on top.

As for the weekend's new releases look for DreamWorks' The Light Between Oceans to outperform Fox's Morgan despite the latter feature having an edge by 520 theaters.

Based on the 2012 novel by M.L. Stedman, Light Between Oceans is directed by Derek Cianfrance and stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and two-time nominee Michael Fassbender. The film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival today, is being looked at as a "specialty release", opening in only 1,500 theaters with industry expectations eying an opening in the mid-to-high single digits. This lines up well with Mojo's forecast, though finding a multitude of titles for comparison isn't simple.

From a theater and release date perspective, last September's release of A Walk in the Woods, another adult-targeted book adaptation that debuted over Labor Day weekend, stands out despite the fact it doesn't necessarily line up from a genre perspective. Woods opened with $8.2 million over the three-day and finished with a $10.9 million four-day from 1,960 theaters after opening on Wednesday. One other comparison would be the release of Florence Foster Jenkins into 1,528 theaters just last month where it brought in $6.6 million. All things considered, it makes a fair bit of sense to expect a three-day opening around $7.5 million for Oceans and a four-day around $9.3 million.

When it comes to Morgan, the sci-fi thriller is opening in 2,020 theaters and stokes memories of last year's A.I. thriller Ex Machina and 2010's Splice. A performance comparison to Ex Machina, however, is made difficult due to the film's slow roll out, which began in four theaters and didn't eclipse 2,000 theaters until its fifth weekend. Splice opened in 2,450 theaters in June of 2010 with $7.3 million. Splice, however, did enjoy a bit more hype than Morgan has seen leading up to release thanks to buzz coming out of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Alternatively, until late May, Morgan was, more or less, an unknown quantity and buzz isn't exactly booming as the film's Facebook page has just over 25,000 "likes" and the RottenTomatoes rating currently sits at a mere 43%. All told, an opening around $5.5 million for the three-day could be pushing it with a four-day around $6.5 - 6.8 million.

On top of the week's new wide releases, this weekend is also seeing the continued expansion of one of the year's best reviewed films, Hell or High Water. The CBS Films and Lionsgate release expanded into 1,181 theaters yesterday and expands further into 1,303 theaters this weekend. Over the weekend it should continue to play on the fringes of the top ten, bringing in around $3.4 million for the three-day and $4.3 million for the four day weekend.

Also beginning its holiday expansion yesterday, The Weinstein Co's Hands of Stone expanded to 1,524 theaters and will expand even further, into 2,011 theaters starting Friday as it hopes to improve on its $1.75 million opening last weekend from 810 theaters. However, things aren't looking too great for the film with a three-day weekend around $2.1 million looking most likely, pushing toward a $2.8-3 million for the four-day.

Also expanding this weekend are several films that have been in release for several weeks already. Leading the charge is Disney's Finding Dory, which is expanding back into 2,075 theaters (+1,730), a move that isn't without precedent. Last year the studio added over 2,200 theaters to the release of Inside Out and it saw a 140% increase and finished in tenth position over Labor Day weekend. In 2013 Monsters University added over 1,600 theaters and saw a 300% bump and in 2012 Disney brought both The Avengers and Brave into wide release with Avengers seeing a bump over 1,500% and Brave over 176%. There's no telling just how well it will do, but with Dory already sitting as the highest grossing animated feature of all-time domestically it feels safe to assume a lot of people have seen it, though a weekend around $1.5-2 million may not be out of the question.

Other films heading back into a larger number of theaters include Ghostbusters (1,091 / +657), Pure Flix's Hillary's America (404 / +324), Nerve (761 / +306), Fox's Independence Day: Resurgence (391 / +279) and Ice Age: Collision Course (692 / +237).

Additionally, A24 is bringing The Sea of Trees into 101 theaters (+99) after it went virtually unnoticed last weekend to the tune of $2,894 from two theaters; and Roadside is giving Southside with You a bump to 897 theaters (+84) in its second weekend. For a full look at the weekend's theaters counts click here.

In limited release, Lionsgate will bring No Manches Frida to 362 theaters and Fox International will debut Naam Hai Akira in 71 theaters.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. As neither Morgan nor The Light Between Oceans held Thursday previews, this post will be updated with Friday estimates on Saturday morning, followed by a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Don't Breathe (3,051 theaters) - $13.74 M
  • Suicide Squad (3,292 theaters) - $8.28 M
  • The Light Between Oceans (1,500 theaters) - $7.4 M
  • Kubo and the Two Strings (2,985 theaters) - $5.96 M
  • Morgan (2,020 theaters) - $5.5 M
  • Pete's Dragon (3,272 theaters) - $5.22 M
  • Sausage Party (2,766 theaters) - $4.82 M
  • Mechanic: Resurrection (2,258 theaters) - $4.32 M
  • Bad Moms (2,306 theaters) - $4.01 M
  • War Dogs (2,848 theaters) - $3.98 M

  • Don't Breathe - $17 M
  • Suicide Squad - $10.59 M
  • The Light Between Oceans - $9.37 M
  • Kubo and the Two Strings - $7.73 M
  • Morgan - $6.76 M
  • Pete's Dragon - $6.76 M
  • Sausage Party - $6.18 M
  • Mechanic: Resurrection - $5.55 M
  • Bad Moms - $5.16 M
  • War Dogs - $5.13 M

<sup>†</sup> "Horror" is a loosely used term here, representing films classified on Mojo as either Horror, Horror Comedy, Sci-Fi Horror, Action Horror, Period Horror and Horror Thriller.

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