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Labor Day Weekend Box Office: Don't Breathe Rare Horror Repeat as Light Fades and Morgan Breaks Down

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By Chris Kavan - 09/05/16 at 06:33 PM CT

Many were calling for a quiet Labor Day Weekend at the box office and they were right. The overall weekend was down 24% compared to a slow previous week and down 13% compared to last year's Labor Day box office. Neither of the new films contributed much as one could barely crack the top 10 while the other was beaten by the re-release of an animated film 12 weeks old and the limited release of a Spanish-language specialty title. Still, there was good news: a horror film took the top spot for two weeks running for the first time since 2014 while several other films surpasses major milestones.

1) DON'T BREATHE

Horror films usually drop so much in their second weekends that it is a rare sight to see one atop the box office for two weeks straight. In fact, one has to go back to October of 2014 when Ouija managed to top two straight weekends to find a comparison. Don't Breathe held on to the top spot with a $15.8 million weekend - with a $19.55 including Labor Day. That gives the home invasion horror story a new $55 million total - looking very nice next to a $10 million budget. It held on very well for a horror film, dropping just 41% for the weekend and having an even better hold (32%) with the holiday factored in. Even with an influx of new titles coming in fast and hard, Don't Breathe is looking at an $80 million total pretty easily with $90 million not outside the realm of possibility.

2) SUICIDE SQUAD

The mixed reactions haven't done much to slow down Suicide Squad. Now in its 5th weekend, the super villain team had its best hold yet, falling just 19.8% for the weekend (and actually gaining 4.5% with Labor Day factored in) adding $9.82 milllion ($12.8 million total for the holiday) and that was enough to inch the film over the $300 million mark with a new $300.2 million total. That is the eighth film of 2016 to hit that mark That tops the six films that hit $300 million last year. It also passed Man of Steel ($291 million) to become the 15th-highest grossing superhero film on record. On the global scale, it has hit $672.9 million - the second-best August release of all time (just behind Guardians of the Galaxy at $733 million). It's looking like for all the doom and gloom dumped upon this film (and let's face it - it is far from perfect), Suicide Squad, much like Batman v. Superman, it going to turn out just fine.

3) PETE'S DRAGON

Enjoying the biggest bump for the holiday weekend, Disney's Pete's Dragon reboot enjoyed a great Labor Day bump. While it actually came in fourth for the weekend ($6.22 million, down 16.3%) it has a massive Monday bump, rising to $8.58 million and a 15.3% increase and that third-place position. That gives the film a new $66.33 million total - enough to pass its $65 million budget. It's on its way toward an $80 to $85 million total - with the international numbers factored in, this one should wind up being at least a little in the black by the time it exits theaters.

4) KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

Another family film also managed to get a pretty good Labor Day boost. With a $6.39 million weekend, Kubo was in third place, but dipped just a bit on Monday finishing with $8.53 million just behind Pete's Dragon. That still represented a nice 8.8% increase on Monday and raised Kubo to a $36.3 million total. It's going to be close, but here's hoping the Laika Entertainment film can hit that $50 million mark before it leaves theaters. Seeing as it is one of the more unique offerings of the year, this is exactly the type of film that needs support if we want something other than sequels, remakes and the like crowding out these more original films from theaters. My .02.

5) SAUSAGE PARTY

With family films getting the biggest bump from what amounts to the final "summer" holiday, that meant the more adult animated film, Sausage Party, fared a little worse. The R-rated film earned $5.2 million for the weekend (down 30.9%), with $6.5 million for the holiday (down 13.6%). That gave the raunchy foodstuffs a new $89.6 million total. The film is still well on its way to the $100 million mark (providing it doesn't lose too many screens in the next few weeks) - not bad for a $19 million budget and an R-rating on top of that.

Outside the top five: The two new films really didn't have an impact at the box office. The period drama The Light Between Oceans could only muster a $4.6 million opening ($5.9 million with Labor Day included), languishing in 8th place. The Alicia Vikander/Michael Fassbender film did earn a decent "B+" Cinemascore from audiences with a not-surprising 66% female leaning and 91% over 26. With an estimated $20 million budget, this one has some work to do before it can be profitable, if it can even get there.

On the other hand, at least it can say it did better than Morgan. While it had a pretty good marketing campaign, the horror/sci-fi films with traces of Ex-Machina had one of the worst debuts of all time for a film opening in over 2000 theaters. Morgan opened outside even the top 15 with a $1.98 million weekend and a $2.43 million holiday. In fact, it dropped below Finding Dory (a film bumped up in its 12th weekend of release) in the 18th position once everything was said and done. In any case, this result was seventh worst opening for a film in over 2000, coming in just ahead of last year's We Are Your Friends. Still, that is a disheartening opening for any films - especially as one with a story that seemed at least somewhat interesting. The film cost a relative low $6 million, but it's likely to even fall short of that amount.

It wasn't all bad news - specialty box office release No Manches Frida - from Lionsgate's Pantelion label, had the second-best opening behind Instructions Not Included - with a $3.65 million ($4.65 milllion including Labor Day) and earning an "A" Cinemascore. It landed in 12th place - all from just 362 theaters,

Also continuing to do well was Hell or High Water. The western has had a nice, steady increase over the last few weeks. Expanding by nearly 400 theaters, and now playing in 1303 theaters, it enjoyed yet another bump, and broke in to the top 10 for the first time with a $4.45 million weekend ($5.6 million for the holiday) and a 9th place showing. Thus far, it has earned $15.7 million (on a $12 million budget) and looks to continue to expand.

In milestone news Bad Moms became the first STX film to cross the $100 million mark with a $6 million holiday weekend a new $103.7 million total. Down in 13th place The Secret Life of Pets added $4.6 million for a new total of $359.6 million - that was enough to move it passed Inside Out to become the 8th-highest grossing domestic animated film of all time (it has also earned $762 million internationally - one of the best results for an original film on record). It will soon pass both Deadpool and The Jungle Book on the 2016 charts.

Next week ushers in the Tom Hanks "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot biopic Sully. We also get the long-delayed Disappointments Room, the animated Wild Life and the sultry thriller When the Bough Breaks.

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