The re-release of Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” has opened with $95,000 on Thursday night at 809 North American sites.
“Close Encounters,” which initially launched in 1977, is expanding Friday to 901 venues, including 400 premium large format locations. The 4K restoration of the sci-fi classic — pegged to its 40th anniversary — starring Richard Dreyfuss, carries modest expectations with forecasts of less than $1 million for the four-day Labor Day weekend, during which overall business is expected to be the slowest in more than a decade.
The original “Close Encounters” was a critical and commercial success, earning $303.8 million worldwide and nine Academy Award nominations (and two wins).
The Weinstein Company’s “Tulip Fever” is also opening Friday at 765 locations, with forecasts of less than $2 million. The historical drama, set in 17th century Netherlands, was filmed three years ago and stars Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Judi Dench, and Cara Delevingne.
The Labor Day weekend is going to cap a thoroughly disappointing summer for the domestic box office, with business sagging throughout August. Lionsgate’s third weekend of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and New Line’s fourth frame of “Annabelle: Creation” should once again top the charts.
Popular on Variety
“Hitman” won the previous weekend, with just over $10 million, and has taken in about $44 million in its first two weeks. “Annabelle: Creation” has been the best performer of the late summer, with more than $81 million.
As of Aug. 30, the domestic summer box office had fallen 14.3% to $3.73 billion, pulling down the year-to-date number by 6.1% to $7.49 billion, according to comScore.
“A laboriously slow box office weekend is on tap with a holiday weekend that is poised to be no picnic for Hollywood as a lack of a single new wide release title has left a monumental void in a marketplace that has been lacking momentum for the entire month of August (a month that is down 35% vs. last year),” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.