With the usual smattering of modest Labor Day releases, Summer 2009 came to a quiet close. While overall business was up 44 percent from the corresponding (non-holiday) timeframe last year, this Labor Day weekend was one of the least-attended in over a decade.
Falling 55 percent (comparing Friday-Sunday periods) but still leading the weekend, The Final Destination pulled in $15.3 million over the four-day weekend, lifting its total to $50.4 million in ten days. The horror sequel had a steeper drop than its predecessors as well as My Bloody Valentine 3-D from earlier this year. Nonetheless, it surpassed the final gross of Final Destination 2 and will soon top the other Final Destination movies, though it has a ways to go in terms of attendance.
Featuring Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper hot off the successes of The Proposal and The Hangover, respectively, All About Steve bagged $14.1 million four-day opening on approximately 2,300 screens at 2,251 sites. The start was a bit better than My Super Ex-Girlfriend but less than The Heartbreak Kid among similar movies. Both of those pictures were disappointments, and that's the norm for this sort of negative romantic comedy. In the advertising, Cooper as the titular Steve spends most of the time rolling his eyes and blandly sneering at Ms. Bullock's loopy character. While it wasn't flattering to either actor, the movie was presented as a lark and fared about as well as could be expected by that standard.
What Labor Day weekend would be complete without some cheesy action picture grasping for some late summer scraps? Gamer attempted to fit that bill but posted a low score of $11.2 million four-day on around 2,700 screens at 2,502 sites. The premise of people forced to play a deadly game show has been mined to middling effect in past titles like Death Race, Rollerball and The Running Man, and Gamer failed to stand out in its look and feel, despite its video game avatar hook.
The weekend's other nationwide debut, writer-director Mike Judge's Extract, drew a soft $5.5 million four-day at 1,611 sites. Mr. Judge's Office Space had a $4.2 million opening (Friday-Sunday), but that was back in 1999 and would be the equivalent over $6 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. That picture became an audience favorite after its theatrical release and was highlighted in Extract's marketing, but Extract's premise was not clearly presented and came off as random stoner and workplace antics.
Inglourious Basterds retreated 40 percent and nabbed a $15 million four-day. Its booty rose to $95.1 million in 18 days, ranking as Quentin Tarantino's second most-attended picture behind Pulp Fiction. Holding well with $9.1 million, District 9 crossed the $100 million mark on Sunday, its 24th day, and became the 19th picture of the year to reach that level. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was also still in play with $6.7 million, down 33 percent for $141 million in 32 days.
Halloween II (2009) bled 65 percent in its second weekend, grossing a $6.9 million four-day for $26.9 million in eleven days, or less than Halloween (2007)'s four-day start. Its fall was also slightly steeper than its predecessor. Lacking traction, Taking Woodstock also took a bath in its second weekend, plunging 57 percent and grossing $1.9 million four-day for a $6.4 million tally.
Yet again, Julie & Julia, (500) Days of Summer and The Hangover had the best holds among nationwide releases. Julie & Julia dipped 24 percent and garnered a $7.1 million four-day, bringing its tally to $80.7 million in 32 days. With a new advertising push behind it, (500) Days of Summer eased eight percent and wooed a $2.4 million four-day, increasing its total to $28.4 million. Off nine percent, The Hangover made $1.5 million four-day for a $272.2 million tally in 95 days.
Meanwhile, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen hit the $400 million milestone on Saturday, its 74th day of release.
• 'Final Destination' Rips Into Top Spot
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2008 - 'Bangkok Dangerous' Tops Weekend with Small Opening
• 2007 - '3:10 to Yuma' Arrives at Top Spot
• 2006 - 'Covenant' Hovers Over Weak Weekend
• 2005 - 'Exorcism' Torments Top Spot, Sticks It to 'The Man'
• 4-day Weekend Box Office Results
• 3-day Weekend Box Office Results
• All Time Labor Day Opening Weekends