‘War Room’ Tops ‘Straight Outta Compton’ at Labor Day Box Office

     September 6, 2015

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As of Friday, holdovers War Room and Straight Outta Compton were still neck and neck at the box office. But based on this morning’s estimates, Sony’s faith-based feature has extended its lead over the Universal biopic: $9.3 million to $8.8 million. In terms of the four-day holiday race, War Room is expected to remain in the lead – denying Compton a fourth-straight first place finish.

As expected, this turned out to be one of the lowest-grossing Labor Day weekends in recent memory. No film topped $10 million between Friday – Sunday, resulting in an overall box office total of just $86.2 million. That’s lower than 2004’s Labor Day weekend – the last holiday frame that failed to send a movie to $10 million or higher.

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Poster via EuropaCorp

This weekend’s total is also lower than Labor Day 2005, when Transporter 2 opened in first place with $16.5 million. A decade later, Transporter Refueled brought in less than half that in its debut. Despite taking first place on Friday (though just barely), Refueled lost momentum and wound up in fifth place with an estimated $7.13 million from 3,434 locations. That’s the lowest opening in the franchise’s history, running 22% behind 2002’s The Transporter and 40% behind Transporter 3 in 2008.

To be fair, Labor Day is not known for launching big hit films, though there have been a few success stories in recent years. The Possession earned close to $50 million (domestic) after opening over the 2012 holiday frame. One year later, One Direction: This is Us and the Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included both went on to impressive grosses (relative to budget size) following their Labor Day starts.

Though stronger this weekend than The Transporter Refueled, A Walk in the Woods probably won’t join the list of esteemed Labor Day debuts. For one thing, the Robert RedfordNick Nolte vehicle actually opened last Wednesday. For its first three-day weekend, A Walk in the Woods earned an estimated $8.4 million from 1,960 locations. That tops the film’s reported budget of $8 million, but it might not be enough to carry it to strong September run. A Walk in the Woods received a so-so ‘B’ from CinemaScore audiences and has a current Rotten Tomatoes rating of 47%.

There is one other notable debut in the top ten this weekend: Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos. The animated family comedy is the third consecutive release from Pantelion Films-Lionsgate to open over Labor Day weekend, beginning with 2013’s Instructions Not Included. Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos earned an estimated $3.4 million from just 395 locations through Sunday. That equals a per-screen take of $8,608 – by far the best average on this weekend’s top ten chart.

So that’s a wrap on the summer of 2015. Looking ahead to fall’s first official frame, Sony/Screen Gem’s Perfect Guy should take first place with an opening of $25 million. Horror pic The Visit, from Universal, is projected to bring in close to $15 million while 90 Minutes in Heaven, targeting for the same audience that put War Room on top this weekend, should debut with at least $5 million. Until then, here are the estimates for summer’s final frame:

 Title 3-day 4-day* Total
1.  War Room $9,350,000 $12.1 $124.6
2.  Straight Outta Compton $8,850,000 $11.2 $147.7
3.  A Walk in the Woods $8,400,000 $10.2 $10.4
4.  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation $7,150,000 $9.2 $180.3
5.  The Transporter Refueled $7,130,000 $8.6 $7.1
6.  No Escape $5,445,000 $7 $18.4
7.  The Man From U.N.C.L.E. $3,445,000 $4.7 $39.3
8.  Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos $3,400,000 $4.4 $3.4
9.  Sinister 2 $3,377,000 $4.3 $23.7
10.  Inside Out $3,146,000 $4.3 $348.2

* Four-day numbers are projections only and are not included in the Total column

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Image via Screen Gems

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