erik lundegaard

Hollywood BO: The Labors of Labor Day

Why does Hollywood treat Labor Day as the red-headed stepchild of four-day weekends? It’s stuck there at the end of summer, the kids are going back to school, but can’t a brother get a last gasp? Instead of looking back to fun and sun, Hollywood uses the holiday to look ahead to the horrors of October and the semi-seriousness of autumn—but not with their best stuff. Usually with lousy stuff. Moviegoers respond accordingly by not showing up.

Here are the biggest box-office openers for each four-day weekend:

  1. Memorial Day: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End”: $139,802,190
  2. Presidents Day: “Valentine's Day”: $63,135,312
  3. MLK Day: “Cloverfield” $46,146,546
  4. Labor Day: “Halloween (2007)”: $30,591,759

Not even close. Plus the films the studios trot out over Labor Day read like a marquee in hell: “Jeepers Creepers” (1 and 2), “Balls of Fury,” “All About Steve,” “The Wicker Man,” “Babylon A.D.” And those are the popular ones.

So consider ourselves lucky that we got “The American” this weekend and some of us (including Patricia and I—review up soon) actually went to see it. It topped the three-day weekend with $13 million and the four-day weekend with $16 million—just ahead of “Machete”’s $11 million and $14 million, and far ahead of “Going the Distance”’s $6.9 million and $8.6 million. The Justin Long-Drew Barrymore rom-com finished in fifth place. Barrymore has been with us forever but she’s still only 35, so, despite the soft open, expect more of these. Someone, by the way, should do a look at the history of the Barrymore rom-com: from Adam Sandler (9 years older) through Hugh Grant (15 years older) to Justin Long (3 years younger).

Last weeks’s 1 and 2, “Takers” and “The Last Exorcism,” finished 3 and 4, falling off, respectively, 46.9% and 63.6%. Normal falls for such films, but, given the holiday weekend, fairly steep falls.

“The Expendables,” in comparison, dropped only 30% and has now grossed $94 million; the $100 million mark is only a matter of time. “The Other Guys,” fell off only 15% to bring its cumulative take to $108 million and put “Robin Hood” ($105m) in its rearview mirror. In its headlights? “Valentine’s Day” ($110m).

In 8th place? “Eat, Pray, Love,” which fell off only 29% and has steadily climbed to a $70 million gross. No. 9, “Inception,” dropped just 7% and stands at $278m (and $696m worldwide). Somewhere in the last week, “Despicable Me” passed “Shrek Forever After.”

Finally a request. Box Office Mojo? Your abs ads are beginning to creep me out. More reptile than man. Turn it down a notch, will ya?

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Posted at 07:30 AM on Tue. Sep 07, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office  
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