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Box Office: ‘Don’t Breathe’ Dominating Newcomers on Sleepy Labor Day Weekend

Sony’s second weekend of “Don’t Breathe” is ready to scare up as much as $15 million at the domestic box office to handily lead a typically subdued Labor Day weekend, early estimates showed Friday.

“Don’t Breathe” should take in more than the combined number for the launches of Michael Fassbender-Alicia Vikander’s drama “The Light Between Oceans,” with about $6 million at a relatively modest 1,500 locations, and Luke Scott’s sci-fi thriller “Morgan,” with around $5 million at 2,020 sites.

The horror-thriller was dominating business on Friday with a projected $3.5 million. The opening days of Disney’s “Light” and Fox’s “Morgan” were both heading for around $1.4 million — and in a telling signal of the muted prospects for both new titles, neither studio held the usual preview showings on Thursday night.

Warner Bros.’ fifth weekend of “Suicide Squad” should finish ahead of the newcomers with as much as $10 million for the four days, enough to lift the supervillain tentpole near the $300 million milestone domestically. A trio of  holdovers — Sony’s fourth weekend of “Sausage Party,” Disney’s fourth weekend of “Pete’s Dragon,” and Focus’ third frame of “Kubo and the Two Strings” — will be contending for third place with the two new titles.

Studios tend to avoid opening wide releases on Labor Day weekend, so the period is usually led by holdovers. The second weekend of “War Room” won last year with $13.4 million; the fifth weekend of “Guardians of the Galaxy” led in 2014 with $22.9 million; and the third weekend of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” was victorious in 2013 with $20.2 million.

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The Light Between Oceans” is the final DreamWorks title being distributed by Disney through its Touchstone label in a deal that launched in 2011. Universal will handle future releases under a deal signed last year between DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment, and Entertainment One.

“The Light Between Oceans,” which carries a $20 million production budget, is directed by Derek Cianfrance from his own script based on the M.L. Stedman novel. The story follows a young World War I veteran who takes a job as a lighthouse keeper in Australia, gets married, and is persuaded by his wife to raise an infant girl after she’s found in a rowboat mysteriously washef ashore.

“Morgan,” directed by Luke Scott, centers on a super-intelligent robot — played by Anya Taylor-Joy — who attacks one of her creators. The ensemble cast includes Kate Mara, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti.

“Morgan” is a low-risk proposition for Fox with a scanty $6 million budget. Scott is the son of Ridley Scott and has been a second-unit director on his father’s “The Martian” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”

“Don’t Breathe” has hit $35 million in its first week and is already in profit for Sony, thanks to its price tag of less than $10 million. The film stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Daniel Zovatto as three friends who get trapped by a blind man — played by Stephen Lang — inside his house after breaking in.

The quiet Labor Day weekend box offices follows a record August, which helped drive summer revenues up to about $4.34 billion domestically — which should be enough to match last summer’s $4.49 billion total, even though the current summer has six fewer days, noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

“This Labor Day weekend has a real shot at scoring the final kick through the uprights at the end of the big game to clinch the win in one of the tightest summer-over-summer horse races on record,” he said.

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