Ah, Labor Day. Try as they might, with three new wide releases and one expansion, it's still the anti-holiday for the box office. None of them broke out and one of them even failed to crack the top ten.
Invincible Leads Weak Labor Day Pack Again
Weekend Wrap-Up For September 1-4, 2006
By Tim Briody
September 4, 2006
The number one movie this weekend for the second week in a row is Invincible, Buena Vista's feel-good football movie staring Mark Wahlberg. Over the Friday-to-Monday period, Invincible took in $15.2 million, down 10.6% from last weekend's three-day opening. The 11-day total for Invincible now stands at $37.8 million, making it one of the few winners of late August, as the other three films that opened last week will not even be mentioned in this column again.
The number two spot goes to our first opener, Crank, the latest film in an attempt to make Jason Statham the Will Smith of Labor Day. After last year's Transporter 2, which broke $20 million over the holiday weekend, I expected a little bit better from Crank. Instead, it earned $13 million from Friday-to-Monday, square in between the openings of the two Transporter films. It's not great, but it's not awful either, especially for Labor Day weekend, though we can look for a bit of a freefall next weekend.
Our second opener lands at number three as Nicolas Cage's remake of The Wicker Man earns $11.7 million in four days. Not screened for critics (and absolutely shredded by those who did review it), it's another disappointment for Cage, who seems to be getting into the habit of having two films released within weeks of each other. While The Wicker Man will beat The Weather Man, it's still up for debate as to whether it will surpass Lord of War ($23.2 million).
Sundance darling Little Miss Sunshine slips one spot to fourth place with $9.7 million, up 29.6% from last weekend with the benefit of the extra day. Its total now stands at $35.8 million after six weeks in theaters and three in wide release. I know most of the Box Office Prophets staff has been raving about it, but I keep waiting for a television commerical to absolutely knock it out of the park. Instead, it just tells me that everyone loves it. Oh well, kudos to Fox Searchlight for this one.
Expanding into 971 theaters, The Illusionist sneaks into fifth with $8 million for easily the highest per-screen average among the top ten films. Starring Edward Norton (who seemed to do his own disappearing act the last few years), Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti, word-of-mouth was obviously very solid for this movie, especially considering I haven't seen very many ads for it. Its running total is now up to $12.1 million, making The Illusionist something to watch over the next few weeks.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby drops to sixth place with $7.7 million, bringing it to $138.3 million in five weeks. The Will Ferrell NASCAR comedy continues to chug along nicely as it is now solidly his second-highest grossing film ever, behind Elf's $173 million. It should cross $150 million in the few remaining weeks it has left.
The Barnyard takes seventh with $6.4 million, the biggest benefactor of the four-day weekend, up three spots and up 18.5% from last weekend. The computer animated film has quietly earned $63.6 million, a solid figure now that these movies are no longer special since one is being released every few weeks. A final destination of $70 million and an inevitable sequel seem likely.
Accepted shows more legs than I thought it would in theaters, as it stays in the top ten for a third weekend (I'm looking at you, Snakes on a Plane), taking eighth with $5.9 million, down a scant 9% from last weekend. The Justin Long comedy's three-week tally is now $29.4 million, and it should eke out about $38 million and a big cult following on DVD.
Nicolas Cage's other film, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center places ninth with $5.8 million, off 9.3% from last week. The running total after four weeks is now $63.7 million, which can be considered pretty good. It will be interesting to see if it rebounds slightly next weekend as we approach the five-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
August's biggest surprise, Step Up, sticks in tenth place, adding another $5.5 million to its total, giving it a very impressive $58.4 million in four weekends. The movie marketed to the MySpace generation has performed above many expectations and will stop dancing with around $64 million.
The weekend'd final release, Crossover, an attempt at making a feature film out of an And1 Mixtape, earned $4.5 million, landing well outside the top ten.
Overall, the top ten films this weekend earned $89 million, practically neck-and-neck with last year's $91.6 million, led by The Transporter 2's $20.1 million.