Weekend Wrap-Up

Don't Breathe - Rare Horror Two-Peat

By John Hamann

September 4, 2016

I think he's breaking several horror movie tropes right there.

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It must be Labor Day weekend – a Screen Gems horror flick repeats at number one.

Yes, it’s that weekend. Labor Day Weekend is a powerful antidote for summer. Last year, no film earned more than $10 million over the three-day portion of Labor Day weekend, and the last time a film earned more than $20 million over the long weekend was way back in 2010, when Screen Gems’ Takers opened to $20.5 million. Screen Gems is back this year, but not with an opener, as Don’t Breathe has an opportunity to be the first repeat horror film at number one since Ouija repeated over Halloween in 2014. Challenging Don’t Breathe for top spot are two films that never had a chance – the drama Light Between Oceans with Michael Fassbender, and Morgan, a poorly made and poorly advertised sci-fi thriller with Kate Mara.

Our number one film this weekend is Don’t Breathe, the very well-reviewed horror flick from Sony and Screen Gems. Last weekend, this little film that could picked up more than two and a half times its production budget in three days, earning $26.4 million versus its production budget of only $9.9 million. Everything earned now is gravy for the savvy Screen Gems, a company that knows how turn low budget horror into hits. Normally, we would expect a horror flick like Don’t Breathe to drop 60% in its second weekend, but this one is different. With excellent reviews (86% fresh) and hot Cinemascore (B+), Don’t Breathe had an opportunity to buck the usual horror trend, and it did, starting its second weekend with $4.2 million on Friday.


While the Friday-to-Friday drop for Don’t Breathe was high at 58%, one has to remember that the movie accumulated almost $2 million from Thursday previews last week, which skews the percentage drop higher. Over the weekend, Don’t Breathe managed a weekend take of $15.7 million, a drop of only 41%. I really mean "only" – it’s an awesome drop for a horror flick, as it could have been as high as 60%. That puts the domestic total for Don’t Breathe at $51.1 million, keeping in mind that against a $9.9 million budget. Lights Out, the other highly successful low budget horror original released this summer, had taken in $42.9 million over the same time period, but cost $5 million less to make. There is some horror competition coming next weekend, but The Disappointments Room seems more like a Don’t Breathe speed bump than a challenger.

Finishing second this weekend is Suicide Squad, which is enjoying that late summer slide with virtually zero competition. This weekend, its fifth, Suicide Squad found another $10 million and declined 18%. The total for the Warner Bros. blockbuster has reached $297.4 million domestically, and the Warner Bros. release has crossed the $350 million mark overseas, all against a $175 million budget.

Pete’s Dragon moves up the chart to third after finishing sixth in the previous frame, another sign that it must be Labor Day weekend. The Disney remake pulled in another $6.5 million this weekend, giving it an excellent hold of 13%, but it’s too little too late, at least on the domestic side. Pete’s Dragon cost $65 million to make, and has a domestic total to date of $64.2 million. Overseas hasn’t supported this one enough so far, though, as it has amassed $28 million overseas.

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