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Labor Day weekend box office ends summer movie season with a whimper

The Hitman's Bodyguard topped a dismal Labor Day weekend box office.
This year’s Labor Day weekend box office is sending the summer movie season out on a low note.

Following on the heels of last week’s worst box-office weekend since 2001, the four-day holiday weekend didn’t do much to turn things around in theaters. Although action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard became the summer’s only film to top the box-office charts three weeks in a row, it did so amid some of the lowest ticket sales in decades for the season.

Industry estimates indicate that the final tally for the four-day weekend will likely end up around $95.5 million in U.S. theaters — the first time since 1998 that the holiday weekend generated less than $100 million in domestic ticket sales. The low numbers certainly weren’t helped by the fact that this was the first Labor Day weekend in 25 years not to have a major new release premiere in theaters.

# Title 4-Day Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1.  The Hitman’s Bodyguard $13.3M $58M  $58M
2. Annabelle: Creation $9.3M $90.9M $255.3M
3. Wind River $7.9M $20.3M $20.3M
4. Leap! $6.5M $13M $96.1M
5. Logan Lucky $5.6M $22.6M $25.8M
6. Dunkirk $5.6M $180.2M $460.2M
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming $4.7M $325.1M $747.2M
8. The Emoji Movie $3.3M $81.2M $160.4M
9. Despicable Me 3 $3.3M $258.8M $994.9M
10. The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature  $2.9M $26.7M $29.5M

The bad news for Hollywood coming out of this year’s summer movie season doesn’t stop there, though, as this will likely be the first time since 2006 that the slate of summer movies failed to make more than $4 billion domestically. In the end, even the box-office success of top summer movies Wonder WomanGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Despicable Me 3 wasn’t enough to counter some of the season’s biggest flops, chief among them King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Still, the news wasn’t all bad for some films.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard certainly took advantage of the weak slate of offerings to the tune of $58 million over three weekends. The R-rated comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson was made for just $30 million, so studio Lionsgate is probably quite happy about that performance.

The fourth weekend for horror prequel film Annabelle: Creation also put it past the total gross for its 2014 predecessor, Annabelle, so it was a good week for that particular release, too.

Basically, it was a weekend for many of films that premiered over the last three weeks to tack a bit more on their theatrical runs without much — if any — competition for audiences, and many of the stronger films took advantage of that environment.

The only other noteworthy aspect of the Labor Day weekend was the release of the pilot episode for Marvel’s Inhumans television in theaters for a limited weekend runInhumans ended up raking in approximately $1.5 million across 393 IMAX theaters, which isn’t too shabby for a series that had a relatively lukewarm reception from fans of Marvel’s properties in the weeks leading up to the theatrical event.

Although the summer movie season is officially over, the box-office numbers are expected to get back on track this week with the release of Stephen King adaptation It in theaters. The film, which is the first of a two-part adaptation of King’s novel, has received positive reviews from critics so far and appears to be reaping the benefits from a strong marketing campaign leading up to its release. It’s also the biggest release for the weekend, which should work to its advantage.

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