Focus launches film early ahead of Labor Day

Focus Features kick started Labor Day weekend box office on Wednesday, launching thriller “The Debt” at 1,786 locations and taking a reported $958,670.

The distrib has a history of getting an early start to the holiday frame. Last year, Focus released “The American” midweek, picking up $1.7 million on Wednesday — and in 2005, “The Constant Gardener” bowed to $929,829 on opening day.

It’s unlikely that “The Debt” will reach the winning $19.8 million six-day take set by “The American.” Instead, a more reasonable benchmark is “The Constant Gardener’s” $12.7 million earned over the comparable sesh.

“The Debt” ranked second on Wednesday, behind “The Help,” which collected $1.8 million.

Focus acquired U.S. distribution rights to “The Debt” after the pic was left in limbo following the Disney-Miramax divorce.

“The Debt,” directed by John Madden, toplines Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson as retired Mossad agents. Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington also star as younger versions of those characters, set in 1966 West Germany.

“The Debt” expands to 1,826 domestic locations on Friday.

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