The Marvel film topped the domestic charts for the third time and benefited from crowds hoping to stretch out the waning days of summer, grossing $16.3 million over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday period and pushing its U.S. total to $274.6 million. It will likely end the four-day holiday with $21.2 million in Stateside ticket sales from 3,462 locations.
That easily tops a pair of new wide releases, “November Man” and “As Above, So Below,” which brought in $7.7 million and $8.3 million respectively — modest numbers for modest to low budgeted films with much to be modest about.
It also bested a trip down memory lane, to a different time, when blockbuster films could be based on — gasp! — an original idea, instead of just comic books, toy lines and the flotsam and jetsam of “brand pre-awareness.” Yes, “Ghostbusters.” A 30th anniversary re-release of the paranormal classic is expected to generate $1.6 million this weekend and $2 million for the four days in 784 locations, helping drum up enthusiasm for its forthcoming Blu-ray release, which slides into stores on September 16.
“November Man” will not fashion Pierce Brosnan into a graying avenging angel in the mode of Liam Neeson’s “Taken” films, but it represents a low-cost and minimal risk investment for Relativity Media, the studio that paid $3 million to release the $20 million production Stateside. “November Man” skewed older, with 83% of its audience over the age of 25, and its opening crowd was 55% male.
The film finds the former James Bond playing a retired CIA agent who finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy when he gets pulled out of a pensioner’s life to protect a witness. The sixth-place film will do a $9.8 million of business across 2,776 locations over the four-day holiday weekend.
The economics also favor “As Above, So Below,” despite its fourth place opening. Universal backed the low-budget horror film about treasure hunters in the Paris catacombs for a mere $5 million. It should draw $10.1 million over the four-day holiday in 2,640 venues. It played equally well to women and men, with Hispanics making up the largest share of its audience with 34%. Sixty four percent of ticket buyers were under 25 years old.
Another holdover came in for a second place finish. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” scored an estimated $11.7 million from 3,543 locations and is projected to finish the four day weekend with $15.5 million. That brings its total after four weeks to $166.2 million.
Two other veteran titles, teen weepy “If I Stay” and R-rated comedy “Let’s Be Cops,” captured the third and fifth slots on the U.S. charts with $9.2 million and $8.2 million.
In limited release, Samuel Goldwyn Films and Lifetime Films’ “The Last Days of Robin Hood,” a sort of Errol Flynn-in-winter biopic with Kevin Kline, earned $26,200 in two theaters for a per screen average of $13,100. Sony Pictures Classics’ World War II drama “The Notebook” picked up $3,154 on two screens, with a per screen average of $1,577.
The end of summer can’t come soon enough for a business that’s been mired in the doldrums, down 15% from last year’s record-breaking popcorn season. There were simply too many blockbuster pretenders and too few “Guardians of the Galaxies” to go around this year.