Overall domestic box office totaled just $513 million, which is down 11 percent from last year. More importantly, this was the lowest-grossing month at the box office in six years (dating back to September 2008).
The abnormally low total can be chalked up to a dearth of content early in the month. As Above/So Below and The November Man were weak late August releases, and the major studios entirely avoided the first weekend of September; the only movie to open wide on that date was Freestyle Releasing's The Identical, which has taken in less than $3 million total. By the time the studios got back in to the game on September 12th, the damage was already done.
The month's top performer was The Maze Runner, which tallied $60.2 million through its first 12 days. The young-adult adaptation started with a strong $32.5 million, and held well in its second weekend (down just 46 percent). Assuming it can hang on in to October, there's a chance that it winds up close to $100 million at the domestic box office.
International revenues have also been strong so far, and Fox is moving forward aggressively with a sequel; The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is currently scheduled for September 18th, 2015.
Idris Elba/Taraji P. Henson home invasion thriller No Good Deed took second place with $47.2 million. After an impressive $24.3 million debut, No Good Deed has fallen off quickly, and will close with less than $60 million. That's a very solid result, though without any serious international support it's unclear if this really adds much to the bottom line.
August holdover Guardians of the Galaxy ranked third in September with $44.4 million. During that time, it became the first 2014 release to cross $300 million, and passed the first two Iron Man movies. Guardians is on track to close with around $330 million.
The last two releases of September also performed well. The Equalizer tallied $40.7 million in its first five days, and will likely wind up with around $100 million. A sequel is in development. Meanwhile, The Boxtrolls opened to $17.3 million, which is above recent Laika Animation titles Coraline and ParaNorman.
September delivered a handful of misses as well. Dolphin Tale 2 ended the month with $34.1 million; that's down 34 percent from the first Dolphin Tale over the same period.
This is Where I Leave You earned $23.8 million through its first 12 days. It had a solid hold in its second weekend, though it's still unlikely that this tops $40 million.
Liam Neeson's A Walk Among the Tombstones grossed $21.8 million during the same period. After a slow opening, it plummeted 67 percent in its second weekend, and will fall short of $30 million total.
The worst release of the bunch was country music flick The Identical, which opened in over 1,900 theaters but could only muster $2.8 million total.
The end of September marked the conclusion of the third quarter of 2014; the domestic box office totaled $2.5 billion during that period, which is down 13 percent from last year. In fact, it was the lowest-grossing third quarter since 2006.
Year-to-date, the domestic box office has tallied $7.72 billion, which is off over five percent from last year. To match 2013's record haul, the fourth quarter would need to total $3.2 billion; given that the current record is $2.75 billion, that seems very unlikely.
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• 'Guardians,' 'Turtles' Lead August to Record $1 Billion Haul
• July Box Office Falls Short of $1 Billion
• June Box Office Down 16 Percent From Last Year's Record
• May Box Office Hits Lowest Level Since 2010
• 'Captain America' Dominates Strong April at the Box Office
• March Reaches $800 Million, Fall Short of 2012 Record
• 'LEGO' Leads Not-So-Awesome February
• 'Lone Survivor' Leads Best January in Four Years
• Strong November Box Office Falls Just Short of Record
• Holiday 2013 Forecast
• 'Gravity' Dominates Disappointing October
• 'Insidious' Leads Average September
• September Calendar Grosses
• 2014 Grosses (2014-only releases)
• Year-to-Date Comparison