The first weekend after Labor Day is traditionally, one of, if not the, slowest movie weekend of the year. But this year, business is even worse than expected. With school starting, high school, college and NFL football getting cranked up, and only one new wide release, Hollywood is headed for its worst weekend since September 2001, and its third-worst since 2000.
The Top 12 movies, led by new release Bangkok Dangerous (Lionsgate) with a meager $6.85M, will gross an estimated $44.43M or so this weekend. You have to go back to September 21-23, 2001 to find a three-day that slow ($43.53M led by the Keanu Reeves baseball pic Hard Ball). The only other weekend in this decade to perform that badly was September 15-17, 2000 ($37.85M led by another Keanu Reeves movie The Watcher).
There may not have been another weekend this year that Nicolas Cage‘s new Bangkok Dangerous could have won. The Pang Brothers have adapted their Hong Kong action hit of the same name for US audiences, and it got out of the gates with just $2.3M on its opening day on its way to less than $7M for three days. The opening will go down as the third-worst in the last decade for Nicolas Cage with only Bringing Out the Dead ($6.19M) and The Weather Man ($4.24M) faring more poorly.
Is there an Academy Award winner who makes more bad movies than Nicolas Cage? How can an actor, who was so amazing in Leaving Las Vegas and brilliant in Adaptation, unleash turkeys like Windtalkers, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Lord of War, Next and The Wicker Man? Although Bangkok Dangerous did not officially screen for critics, early reviews are scathing (only 6 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). In fact according to Rotten Tomatoes, Cage‘s last six films have received positive reviews, on average, from only 28 percent of critics.
The weekend’s No. 2 movie will be Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) with an estimated $1.92M on its fourth Friday and a likely three-day of $6.43M. That will push the Ben Stiller action movie satire to a domestic cume of almost $96M by Monday morning. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) scored another $1.43M Friday, and it should reach an estimated $5.25M for the frame, good for third and a staggering new cume of$511.7M. And Babylon A.D. (Fox), starring Vin Diesel, mustered $1.23M to start the weekend, which will translate to $4.1M for the three-day, down 57 percent from its opening weekend.
EARLY THREE-DAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Bangkok Dangerous (Lionsgate) -$6.85 million, $2,586 PTA, $6.85M million cume
2. Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks/Paramount) — $6.43 million, $1,868 PTA, $95.74 million cume
3. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) — $5.25 million, $2,039 PTA, $511.73 million cume
4. The House Bunny (Sony) — $4.58 million, $1,674 PTA, $35.67 million cume
5. Babylon A.D. (20th Century Fox) — $4.1 million, $1,197 PTA, $17.29 million cume
6. Traitor (Overture) — $3.8 million, $1,842 PTA, $16.79 million cume
7. Disaster Movie (Lionsgate) — $2.92 million, $1,106 PTA, $10.49 million cume
8. Death Race (Universal) — $2.67 million, $1,032 PTA, $28.86 million cume
8. Mamma Mia (Universal) — $2.67 million, $1,409 PTA, $136.25 million cume
10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Weinstein) — $1.99 million, $2,784 PTA, $15.91 million cume
11. Pineapple Express (Sony) – $1.8 million, $1,004 PTA, $83.56 million
12. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) – $1.24 million, $638 PTA, $32.3 million