Summer’s Eclipse

Season sets record B.O. take of $2.96 billion.

Time to officially rewrite the record books.

Final data from box office tracker ACNielsen EDI through the season-ending Labor Day weekend show summer B.O. hit a record $2.96 billion this year.

Universal, which had a distribs-best summer market share of 17.4%, rang up a total $513.2 million in seasonal B.O., according to EDI’s final figures. Summer’s silver medal went to Disney with $396.1 million and 13.4%; and 20th Century Fox finished third with $377.4 million and 12.7%

DreamWorks’ family tooner “Shrek,” whose $262.9 million in domestic grosses included $206.4 million in summer B.O., repped the season’s best perf by an individual pic.

No. 2 pic on the summer was New Line’s action comedy “Rush Hour 2,” which drove to $198.9 million through Labor Day. And Mouse House war epic “Pearl Harbor,” the only opener on summer’s season-launching Memorial Day weekend, finished third with $196.7 million through the season-ending sesh.

Meanwhile, this year’s Labor Day weekend set a record for domestic grosses over the four-day holiday frame. This year’s nearly $119 million in Friday-Monday B.O. repped a 1.2% uptick from the previous high mark for the sesh, set in ’99.

“We finished a little stronger than expected,” EDI prexy Tom Borys observed. “We finished with an unanticipated burst.”

Credit MGM/UA’s “Jeepers Creepers” for fueling much of that burst. EDI data Tuesday showed weekend grosses for the horror pic from Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope hit a Labor Day weekend record of $15.8 million.

The sesh’s only other opener — “O,” Lions Gate’s modern retelling of “Othello” — finished in seventh place with $6.9 million. The official B.O. for both openers came in precisely as previously estimated (Daily Variety, Sept. 4).

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