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Soft Labor Day Weekend Caps Off Down Box Office Summer

Labor Day has seldom been a big weekend for movie releases, but with a relatively slow summer Hollywood was hoping for a last-minute push to help bring some life to a season dominated by sequels and remakes. Last weekend “Angel Has Fallen” debut at number one becoming the first films in the “Fallen” franchise to earn the top spot on the chart and it looked like “Angel” would have a good chance to earn a second weekend at the top while carryover blockbusters sought to squeeze whatever they could out of a soft holiday run before the busy and promising fall movie season kicks in. As summer closes out, let’s take a look at how the 2019 Labor Day weekend faired and how the past few months have impacted this year’s box office numbers in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

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“Angel Has Fallen” did indeed earn a second weekend at the top leading a top ten of all holdovers by the end of the holiday. “Angel” earned $11.57 million with an expected $14.5 million after Labor Day Monday for the four-day weekend and was the only film in the top ten to reach double digits over the first three days. “Angel” is expected to reach a lifetime gross of $43.6 million domestically by the end of the holiday. In second, “Good Boys” held strong while “The Lion King” remake bounced back from fifth into the top three. “Hobbs& Shaw” and “Overcomer” rounded out the top five while “Ready or Not”, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”, “Spider-Man: Far from Home”, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and “The Angry Birds Movie 2” rounded out the top ten. “Far from Home” reentered the top ten after the release of an extended version to the big screen while “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” fell out landing in eleventh right in front of “The Peanut Butter Falcon” in twelfth. I did take the slow weekend to view “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and if you’re interested in knowing my thoughts on this indie flick you can read my review here. Together the top twelve movies grossed around $69.5 million, the second-lowest three-day weekend of 2019, with an expected four-day take of $88.5 million which would still be in the top five worst weekends of the year in terms of box office gross. No new films were represented in the top twelve with the highest debut coming from “Don’t Let Go” which landed in fourteenth with a $2.4 million opening take.

THE LION KING

Looking at the summer as a whole the box office numbers were down around 4% compared to 2018. The domestic box office hauled in $4.22 billion over the past few months for the eighth-largest summer of all-time but one filled with interesting ups and downs. Starting in May (after the April debut of “Avengers: Endgame”) we saw seven movies win the box office without a repeat winner from “Endgame’s” third weekend to “Toys Story 4’s” first weekend on top. After “Toy Story 4” earned a second weekend at number one we then saw three more films earn two-week wins at the top of the chart making for the longest streak of repeat winners since 2002. That streak was broken by the one and only truly original film to win the box office over that span, “Good Boys”, which joined “Us” as the only two original and non-sequel films to top the box office to date in 2019. With that said though there were plenty of hits outside of the top spot with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” bringing in career-high numbers for Quentin Tarantino and Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” becoming a minor cult horror hit. Overall though the summer played into a down year for Hollywood with the overall year-to-date box office down an estimated 6.3%.

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The fall box office run looks to remedy that number and it all starts this coming weekend with “It: Chapter 2”, the second and final entry in the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s immortal horror novel. The sequel, which clocks in at nearly three hours long, will be the sole major release of the weekend in over 4,400 theaters. The first film debuted in September of 2017 and earned $123 million over its lifespan becoming the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time. The sequel looks to build on that success and kick off the fall season with a bang. Look for my review coming soon. We’ll see just how big a weekend “It: Chapter 2” can scare up this time next week and if you’re interested in exploring what else the fall movie season has to offer you can read my recently released list of the Top 10 Anticipated Films of Fall 2019 by clicking here.

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