The top of the heap was still a pretty low heap, however, as the top 12 made $68.8M, off 22% from last year's $88.2M, which was a weak weekend itself. That $68.8M also gives this frame the dubious distinction of being the lowest grossing weekend of the year, 12% lower than March 6 - 8th's $78.3M.
The newcomers that helped achieve that feat included No Escape, the Owen Wilson/Pierce Brosnan military coup flick, which the Weinsteins state came in just a little under their $9M estimate with $8.3M. On 2,470 screens that $3,355 psa is better than the $2,850 that last year's late-August Pierce Brosnan movie offering, The November Man, made in exactly the same frame. No Escape has a "B+" on Cinemascore, much as November Man did, so a final domestic cume around $30M seems reasonable.
We Are Your Friends struggled to make any with a below-expectations $1.8M, according to Warner Bros. Its $771 psa in 2,333 locations and its "C+" Cinemascore suggests that Zac Efron might have to start considering that "High School Musical: The 10 Year Reunion" script that's sitting in that stack somewhere.
It was War Room, however, that was the story of the weekend. Sony's faith-based film from their Affirm division flew so far under the radar that it didn't even get a Cinemascore. But it nearly stole Compton's title and, at the same time, became the biggest hit for the Kendrick brothers, director Alex Kendrick and his writer/producer brother, Stephen. Their modestly-budgeted flicks have a great return on investment. War Room has a reported budget of $3.5M while their 2011 police officer film, Courageous, had a $2M budget, going on to a domestic cume of $34.5. Their 2008 fireman flick, Fireproof, had a $33.5M domestic cume on a budget of $500K.
Compton's $13.2M led the holdovers even with a 50% drop from last weekend. In 3,142 venues the biopic made $4,201 per screen and has a domestic cume of $134.1M.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation just beat No Escape, making $8.3M in 3,095 locations for a $2,666 psa and a domestic cume topping $170.3M.
Sinister 2 dropped 56%, fairly standard for horror fare, for a $4.65M weekend. On 2,799 screens that translates to a weak $1,661 psa. The film has a domestic cume of $18.1M.
The hitmen continue to miss as Lionsgate reports that American Ultra dropped 49% in its second outing for a $2.8M weekend and a $10.6 cume. Those are pretty disappointing results for a film budgeted at $28M.
The other professional assassin flick, Hitman 47, with a budget at a reported $35M, was in a little better shape. It dropped 51% in its second weekend, making $3.9M for a $15.1M cume.
In limited release news Sony Pictures Classics' Grandma continues to pull strong per screen averages in its second week. The Lily Tomlin starrer added 15 venues for a total of 19 and pulled in $308K for the weekend, approximately $16,243 per venue. Though its cume of $468K is still small the film is performing well.
A24's The End of the Tour posted $321K to its coffers putting the indie to $2.3M for a domestic cume.
New studio STX gets to report that The Gift made $3.1M for the weekend, adding up to a decent $36M domestic cume. The flick, directed by actor Joel Edgerton, had a reported production budget of $5M. In the language of Moneyball, that's a solid, on-base hit.
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This Weekend in Past Years
• 2014 - Weekend Report: 'Guardians' Easily Tops Weak Labor Day Releases
• 2013 - 'One Direction' Rocks, 'Instructions' Surprises Over Labor Day
• 2012 - 'The Possession' Leads Typically Quiet Labor Day
• 2011 - 'The Help' Works It Over Labor Day• 2010 - 'The American' Out-Draws 'The Mexican'
• 2009 - 'Final Destination' Clings to Labor Day Lead
• 2008 - 'Tropic Thunder' Leads Quiet Summer Close
• 2007 - 'Halloween' Severs Labor Day Record
• 2006 - 'Illusionist' Impresses on Labor Day Weekend
• 2005 - 'Transporter 2' Drives to Labor Day Record
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic