The good news? Moviegoers that still went to theaters last weekend despite a lack of new releases are still buying tickets this Labor Day weekend.
The bad news? There’s still no new releases for the holiday, meaning that for the first time since 1999, Labor Day Weekend totals will likely fail to pass $100 million.
Industry estimates currently expect four-day totals to finish somewhere in the $90-100 million range, which would equate to a drop of 22-30 percent from last year’s total of $128.3 million.
The last time Labor Day Weekend totals were below $100 million, “The Sixth Sense” was keeping the box office afloat, taking No. 1 in 1999 with $29.2 million in its fifth weekend to push four day totals to $98 million. No new releases were in the top five. The year prior, four-day totals finished at $78.7 million, with the romantic comedy “There’s Something About Mary” taking No. 1 with just $10.9 million in its eighth weekend.
As bad as this weekend’s numbers are, it could have been worse. Some analysts who spoke to TheWrap before the weekend said that four-day totals could drop to levels not seen since the late 80s/early 90s. Strong holdovers prevented that, with the No. 1 movie, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” matching last weekend’s three-day total of $10 million. That trend continued through the top 10, with the biggest drop-off from last week being a five percent decline for “Annabelle: Creation” from $7.7 million last week to $7.3 million this week.
With the summer box office season now at a close, the strong Q1 numbers brought by robust Oscar season releases and a record-breaking March have been erased, as year-to-date totals now stand 5.7 percent down from last year. Late-year releases like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” could push annual totals to a respectable finish, but aren’t expected to push them past the $11.3 billion made last year and could finish with an attendance count that’s the lowest since 1992.