Summer moviegoing season looks to end on a soft note. Labor Day should bring another quiet weekend for the film industry, closing out an August that lacked some much needed luster.
With a shortage of high-profile releases, last weekend’s champ “Angel Has Fallen” is likely to remain victorious on domestic box office charts. The third chapter in Lionsgate and Millennium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler beat opening weekend expectations with its $21.25 million debut. If it holds like its predecessors, 2016’s “London Has Fallen” and 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen,” the film could earn another $10 million in its sophomore outing.
Movie ticketing service Fandango reports that “Angel Has Fallen” is leading holiday weekend ticket sales, followed by holdovers “Good Boys,” “Hobbs & Shaw,” “The Lion King” and “Ready or Not.”
“As the summer blockbuster season winds down, fans looking for a last blast of summer adrenaline will be heading to the multiplex to see ‘Angel Has Fallen,'” Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis said. “Moviegoers looking for a Labor Day holiday escape are also heading to ‘The Lion King’ and the R-rated ‘Good Boys,’ with both films seeing strong sales this weekend.”
Blumhouse Tilt and OTL’s supernatural thriller “Don’t Let Go,” one of this weekend’s new offerings, is expected to earn between $3 million to $5 million when it debuts in 920 theaters. In the horror film, David Oyelowo portrays a detective working to solve a murder after he gets a surprising phone call from his recently killed niece (Storm Reid). “Don’t Let Go,” which premiered at Sundance under the title “Relive,” was produced by Jason Blum and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes.
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Also opening this weekend is Forrest Film’s drama “Bennett’s War,” which is anticipating a single-digit launch from around 800 venues. The movie follows a young solider who gets discharged from service after an IED explosion in combat damages his back and leg. Upon returning home from overseas, he trains to become a motocross racer to support his family.
At the specialty box office, China’s mega-hit “Ne Zha” is bowing in limited release. The animated film has earned $640 million to date, making it China’s third-biggest movie of all time.
For now, exhibitors and studios are hoping that a robust fall film calendar — one that includes buzzy titles like “It: Chapter Two,” “Joker” and “Hustlers” — will help offset damages from a disappointing summer session. Popcorn season should end up almost 2% behind last year, according to Comscore, driving the box office down more than 6%.