With the Houston flood, impending race riots and a looming nuclear war all on the horizon, folks aren't really thinking about movies. And this weekend will prove that as it shapes up to be the worst Labor Day at the box office since 2001. Last weekend was a historic one at the box office, but not exactly in a good way. The action-comedy The Hitman's Bodyguard managed to repeat with just $10.2 million, as a trio of underperforming new releases fell way short, resulting in the worst overall weekend for the top 12 movies in 16 years, and the lowest August weekend in 20 years. It's entirely possible that record for box office futility could already be broken over the Labor Day holiday, a weekend that is traditionally one of the lowest of the year, but with only two movies debuting, The Weinstein Compan's Tulip Fever and Sony's re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, both arriving in less than 1,000 theaters, it seems that The Hitman's Bodyguard will likely earn an unconventional three-peat, with a projected (and paltry) $5.7 million.
If our projection is accurate, then the "winning" tally for The Hitman's Bodyguard would make it the second lowest-grossing movie to hit #1 in the past 20 years, between Jerry Maguire, which took the top spot in its seventh weekend in theaters with $5.5 million in January 1997, and The Watcher, which earned the #1 spot in its second weekend in September 2000 with $5.8 million. Box Office Mojo reports that Close Encounters, which is heading back to theaters for its 40th Anniversary, will only be released in approximately 700 theaters, while The Weinstein Company's Tulip Fever, which was originally supposed to debut in limited release last weekend, will now open in 600 theaters. While they'll certainly both crack the top 10, it definitely won't be a huge opening for either movie.
The Conjuring franchise spin-off Annabelle: Creation will likely spend its third straight week in the #2 spot with $3.9 million, followed by the Close Encounters of the Third Kind re-release in third place with $3.2 million, the animated comedy Leap! in fourth with $2.9 million and the critically-acclaimed drama Wind River rounding out the top 5 with $2.2 million. Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon and acclaimed French film director François Truffaut star in the story of a group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Director (Steven Spielberg) and Best Supporting Actress (Melinda Dillon), Close Encounters of the Third Kind won for Best Cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond) with Frank E. Warner taking home a Special Achievement Award for sound effects editing. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is presented with an all-new 4K restoration. The film was fully restored from the 35mm original camera negative, thereby utilizing in 4K the full resolution, detail and color depth inherent in the film.
We're projecting that the top 10 will be rounded out by Logan Lucky ($2.1 million), Dunkirk ($1.9 million), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($1.7 million), Tulip Fever ($1.5 million) and Birth of the Dragon $1.1 million). Set against the backdrop of the 17th-century Tulip Wars, Tulip Fever follows a married noblewoman (Alicia Vikander) who has an affair with an artist (Dane DeHaan) and switches identities with her maid to escape the wealthy merchant she married. She and her lover try to raise money together by investing what little they have in the high-stakes tulip market.
Also opening in limited release will be Freestyle Releasing's A Boy Called Po, PBS' documentary Dolores, Pantelion's foreign film Hazlo Como Hombre (Do It Like An Hombre), Shout! Factory's horror-thriller Jackals, Vertical Entertainment's comedy The Layover, Screen Media's horror movie Temple, Lionsgate Premiere's action-thriller Unlocked, Hammond's thriller Valley of Bones and the drama Viceroy's House. There is no indication if any of these movies will be expanding nationwide in the weeks to come.
Looking ahead to next weekend, New Line Cinema's highly-anticipated IT remake may finally be able to pull the box office out of this late-summer slump, debuting in wide release alongside the Open Road Films romantic comedy Home Again and Atlas Distribution's drama 9/11. Also opening in limited release is GKIDS' Napping Princess, Indican's Paradise Club, Sony's Poster Boys, IFC's Rebel in the Rye, Magnolia's School Life, The Orchard's Trophy IFC's The Unknown Girl and Real Women's Year by the Sea. Take a look at our projections for the Labor Day holiday weekend below.