Note: All figures discussed in this article are for the three-day weekend.
Summer 2018 closed this weekend with a hustling and bustling Labor Day weekend that left us with a lot of movies to talk about, especially since this was the first Labor Day weekend in years to deliver multiple new wide releases! To start things off, there was box office sensation Crazy Rich Asians, which took in another $22.2 million, a tiny 10% dip from last weekend. This movies weekend-to-weekend dips are nothing short of phenomenal, they’re like something out of the 1992 box office! Having grossed now $110.9 million after 19 days of release, it’s anyone’s guess just how high this one will end up at the domestic box office. At the very least, it’s gonna get to $175 million domestically, no question.
The Meg held well yet again this weekend as it took in another $10.5 million for a $120.5 million domestic gross to date. It looks like this one is on track for just over $140 million domestically, an incredible result far above anyone’s pre-release expectations. In third place was fellow Summer 2018 box office holdover Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which eased a tiny 13% to add $7 million to its domestic haul, bringing it up to a $204.3 million domestic cume, making it only the eighth movie of 2018 to cross $200 million domestically and only the 24th movie ever for Paramount Pictures to cross that same threshold.
Searching expanded into wide release this weekend and grossed a solid $5.7 million from only 1,208 locations for a per-theater average of $4,719. It’s hard to see this one getting much in the way of staying power in the marketplace only because The Nun opens up next weekend, but this is still a great opening for this original feature. Sony/Screen Gems picked this one up from fellow Sony owned studio Stage 6 Films (Sony has a lot of film companies, my word!) after a buzzy Sundance premiere and proceeded to market it in a way that built upon positive early responses and its unique hook of taking place of a computer screen.
There’s been an interesting trend this decade in studios (namely Focus Features) trying to launch spy drama thrillers the Wednesday before the long Labor Day weekend, with The American, The Debt, Closed Circuit and The November Man being examples of this phenomenon. That trend is likely why MGM bumped up Operation Finale from its original mid-September date to its final Labor Day release date, which resulted in a $6 million bow (it’s grossed $7.7 million since Wednesday). The film only cost $20 million and was released in a more restrained 1,818 locations theater count, but that’s still not a great result for a new movie starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley, especially when such a debut is way below the openings of The American, The Debt and even The November Man. Chalk that up to minimal amounts of marketing and the fact that audiences looking for thrills likely decided to go with the more buzzy Searching.
Christopher Robin eased another 19% this frame as it took home another $5 million for an $85.4 million domestic gross. Also holding well this weekend was BlacKkKlansman which continued to impress in its domestic box office run by grossing another $4.1 million, a mere 19% drop from last weekend, giving it a great $38.3 million domestic haul. Alpha went down only 26% this weekend as it took in another $4.4 million, bringing it up to a $27.3 million domestic gross. Holding far worse this frame was The Happytime Murders, which fell 54%, giving it another $4.4 million and a domestic gross of only $17 million. Mile 22 rounded out the top ten this weekend with a 43% drop that was far steeper than the weekend-to-weekend drops seen by its fellow holdovers. Taking in another $3.5 million, this Mark Wahlberg action vehicle has taken in only $31.7 million. Every Labor Day weekend since 2006 (sans 2014 when they didn’t have a summertime release), PIXAR has brought their summertime blockbusters back into theaters and they continued that with Incredibles 2 this past weekend. Going back into 2,890 locations, Incredibles 2 nabbed another $3.1 million, taking it to $601 million domestic gross, making it the first animated movie in history to gross over $600 million domestically and making it the third film in 2018 (following Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War) to gross over $600 million domestically, the first time ever more than two movies have grossed over $600 million in the same year.
The three-month old holdover Incredibles 2 outgrossed wide release newbie Kin. Despite opening in more theaters than any of the other two new wide releases, Kin flopped with only $3 million, the fifth worst opening weekend for a 2018 release debuting in over 2,000 locations. Lionsgate/Summit seemed to have had big ambitions for the project considering they launched its marketing campaign with a trailer on Avengers: Infinity War, but ever since then, the marketing for this title was middling to forgettable and it’s no wonder it managed to just fade away in the marketplace.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation dipped 19% this weekend and grossed another $2 million for a $161.9 million domestic gross to date. Fellow Sony Pictures holdover Slender Man dropped 34% this frame to add $1.8 million to its domestic gross that now stands at $28.1 million. Ya Veremos grossed a solid $1.8 million from 369 locations for a per-theater average of $4,878. That wasn’t as big past Pantelion Labor Day comedies, but it’s still an alright haul. Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom went back into 1,556 locations this weekend and grossed $1.4 million, bringing its massive domestic gross up to $414.7 million. Right behind it was The Equalizer 2, which brought in another $1.4 million, allowing its domestic gross to hit $100.3 million. That makes it only the sixth Denzel Washington starring vehicle ever to crack $100 million domestically and puts it well on track to surpass the $101.5 million domestic haul of the original Equalizer. The Equalizer 3 is an absolute certainty at this point I reckon.
A.X.L. fell 51% in its second frame, grossing another $1.35 million in the process and giving it a domestic gross of only $5.1 million. Ant-Man and the Wasp was right behind that robot dog family movie with its $1.33 million haul this weekend, a 25% drop from last weekend. This Peyton Reed directed film has now grossed $213.4 million domestically. Fellow July 2018 holdover Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again dropped 37% this weekend, giving it another $1.2 million for a domestic gross of $117.7 million. Meanwhile, Juliet, Naked expanded into 318 locations and grossed $804,025 for a per-theater average of $2,528. That’s a decent result for the title and one wonders how much it could have made if Roadside Attractions had expanded it even further, possibly even into wide release. Juliet, Naked has now grossed $1.2 million. The Wife also expanded its theater count this weekend, grossing $524,436 from 78 locations for a per-theater average of $6,724 for a domestic gross of $1 million. A new film from recent Best Director nominee Lenny Abrahamson debuted this weekend in the form of The Little Stranger and it grossed just $417,000 from 474 locations for a per-theater average of only $880. Looks like there’s a good chance this title will fail to clear $1 million, a disastrous result. Speaking of box office bombs, that Papillon remake fell 68% in its second frame, grossing another $351,000 and bringing it up to a dismal domestic gross of just $1.9 million.
Sorry To Bother You went back into 505 locations this weekend and grossed another $267,000 for a per-theater average of $529, giving it a domestic gross of $16.9 million, taking it past the $16.7 million domestic gross of Detroit to become Annapurna’s biggest movie as a self-distributing studio. The Bookshop went into 60 locations this weekend and grossed another $190,520 for a per-theater average of $3,175 and a domestic gross of $261,029. Leave No Trace was another title that made a theatrical expansion over this weekend as it went into 98 locations and grossed $56,357 for a per-theater average of $575 and a domestic gross of $5.88 million. Madeline’s Madeline struggled in its expansion to 31 locations as it grossed just $28,150 for a per-theater average of $908 for a domestic gross to date of only $111,821 while John McEnroe: In The Realm of Perfection grossed $26,550 from 21 locations for a per-theater average of $1,265 and a domestic gross of $44,190. On top of all of that, Let The Corpses Tan bowed in 3 locations and grossed $12,138 for a per-theater average of $4,046.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $79.3 million, a far from record-breaking total for 3-day Labor Day weekends, but a solid sum that’s up a whopping 50% from this same weekend last year when The Hitman’s Bodyguard topped the box office for the last time.