It’s a bit fitting that the weekend’s only major “new” release was the 40-year-old Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Given the woefully slim box-office receipts, this was a distinctly retro weekend.
The top 12 movies collectively cashed a paltry $51.5 million, making it the worst extended Labor Day weekend in 17 years. That’s right: You’d have to dial the calendars all the way back to the year 2000 to find a worse Labor Day ledger. You know what kind of world we lived in back then? One without iPods, much less iPhones. No Facebook. No Twitter. Certainly no Instagram. Sure, we had computers, but you had to start ’em with a hand crank. We weren’t quite hammering our movie reviews on clay tablets back then, but we weren’t far off.
Still, some folks did see a movie or two over the Labor Day weekend, and more people went to see The Hitman’s Bodyguard than any other. The Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L. Jackson R-rated actioner collected $10.5 million over the traditional three-day weekend (and $13.4 million if you lump in Labor Day itself) to spend a third straight week on top of the box office.
That is, in itself, a pretty remarkable achievement: This year’s Beauty and the Beast couldn’t manage a threepeat. Nor could Wonder Woman or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Even more remarkable? For all its chart-topping success, The Hitman’s Bodyguard has still just made a total of $55.2 million. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made $56 million its very first night.
Annabelle: Creation spent its third straight weekend at No. 2, adding another $7.5 million to its coffins—er, coffers. Wind River lept over Leap!, moving from fourth to third and earning $6.2 million. (Leap!, naturally, slipped to fourth with $4.9 million.) Logan Lucky closed out the top five with a $4.5 million weekend.
As for Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Even on this dowdy weekend, the 40-year-old Steven Spielberg flick didn’t have a close encounter with the box office leaders. it earned just $1.8 million to finish 13th—not a lot of gravy to go along with this cinematic mash-potato sculpture.