Labir Day Weekend: Dismal Box Office–Except for National Cinema Day

Dismal Box Office–Except for National Cinema Day

Spider-Man No Way Home
Courtesy of Sony/Everett Collection
Movie theaters and the terrible end-of-summer continued at the box office.

Lacking any major releases on the calendar, Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home—a movie that debuted in December of 2021–managed to return to the No. 1 spot in North America over Labor Day weekend.

Sony re-released the film with 11 minutes of extra footage that proved to be tantalizing to comic book fans, bringing in $6 million from 3,935 theaters over the weekend. No Way Home is expected to finish the extended holiday weekend on Monday with $7.6 million.

National Cinema Day Brought 8.1 Million Moviegoers to Theaters, Setting Attendance Record in 2022

Another holdover, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick is trailing ever-so-slightly with $5.5 million between Friday and Sunday and an estimated $7 million through Monday. Since ticket sales are close, the final order could change on Monday. In any case, the triumph of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick” highlights the bleakness at the box office considering both of those films are widely available on home entertainment.

With the re-release, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has grossed $812.3 million in North America, strengthening its standing as the third-highest grossing movie in history. Props to Sony for smartly taking advantage of the desolate moviegoing landscape. But it also could have helped for any studio to, you know, actually release a movie over the holiday weekend.

Focus Features opened new film nationwide, but it debuted day-and-date on streaming so hardly anyone showed up in theaters. “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” a mega-church satire starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown, crash-landed in 14th place with $1.44 million from 1,882 theaters. NBCUniversal, the studio’s parent company, didn’t reveal streaming metrics. By Monday, it’s expected to reach $1.75 million.

Lucky for Focus Features, which bought the well-reviewed movie at Sundance Film Fest for $8.5 million, its hybrid release on Peacock will help mitigate the film’s dismal theatrical run.

“Reviews are very good, but the film is not connecting,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “During the last two years, movies released simultaneously in theaters and on streaming have under-performed at the box office, and that’s part of what’s happening.”

Given the top two films in the country were months old, this Saturday ranked as highest-attended day of the year according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

That’s because September 3 was National Cinema Day, which brought out an estimated 8.1 million people as more than 3,000 theaters across the country slashed the price of admissions.

Participants, including major chains like AMC and Regal, charged just $3 for admission to any movie in any format — far less expensive than the country’s average ticket price.

This year, the collective box office tally for every film in theaters is closer to $50 million. Of course, it’s tougher than usual to compare because of Saturday’s markdown.

“With National Cinema Day, we wanted to do something to celebrate moviegoing,” said Cinema Foundation president Jackie Brenneman. “This event outstripped our biggest expectations. The idea of the day was to thank moviegoers for amazing summer, and now we have to thank them for this amazing day.

Holdovers Bullet Train, DC League of Super-Pets, and The Invitation rounded out the top five on box office charts.

Sony’s Bullet Train is aiming for third place with $5.4 million from 3,117 locations, dropping only 10% from last weekend. For the four-day holiday weekend, it’s expected to bring in $6.8 million. After five weeks of release, the Brad Pitt-led Bullet Train has generated a solid $86.6 million to date.

Warner Bros. animated DC League of Super-Pets could take the No. 3 spot. Based on estimates, the family film added $5.4 million from 3,115 locations and looks to close the Labor Day holiday weekend with roughly $6 million. So far, “DC League of Super-Pets” has earned $80.9 million.

The Invitation, which topped the box office last weekend, tumbled to fifth place with $4.7 million from 3,114 cinemas. By Monday, it’s expected to earn $5.7 million, taking ticket sales to $14.7 million.