Coming off a record-breaking year in 2021 when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings scored $75.3 million over the 3-day weekend with a $94.6 million 4-day total, you would think studios would see Labor Day weekend as a viable time to release something worth seeing. This is a time when I wonder if Disney had released the underperforming Lightyear, could it have pulled in the numbers they had expected with less summer competition?
It is still a weird time at the box office, and theaters are still figuring out how to navigate the new theatrical world at a time after a pandemic nearly shuttered them forever. With Cineworld, the owner of Regal Theaters, nearing bankruptcy, the fate of one of the largest theater chains in the world is up in the air.
So let’s get down to the numbers: Marvel has once again seized control of the Holiday weekend by re-releasing Spider-Man: No Way Home, this time with 11 more minutes, dubbing it The More Fun Version. With $6 Million, the third highest-grossing domestic release of all time was able to easily secure first place for the first time since the weekend of January 28, 2022.
It is rare when a re-release tops the charts, but not unheard of. In 2011 Disney Re-released their animated juggernaut The Lion King in 3D, where it topped the charts for two weeks in a row, 17 years after its initial release.
Coming in second place is Top Gun: Maverick. After becoming one of the top-selling digital releases of all time in just its first week of release, the biggest release of 2022 was actually able to gain eyeballs at the theater pulling in $5.5 Million over the 3 day weekend. No doubt when numbers are announced for the full holiday weekend, Maverick will have ticked past the elusive $700 Million mark at the domestic box office, becoming only the sixth film to ever do so.
With the first-ever National Cinema Day proving a wild card for this weekend’s box office, it appears families took full advantage of those $3 tickets and took the whole family to see DC’s League of Super Pets, giving it a 32% bump from last weekend with a healthy $5.45 Million for a third place finish this weekend.
When final numbers are released for the holiday weekend, Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train could take over League of Super Pets for third place as its weekend take is said to be just $500,000 shy of League’s weekend. The David Leitch-directed actioner has seen tremendous week-to-week holds and is slowly making its way to the $100 Million domestic mark (with an additional $100 Million from International markets.) Bullet Train proves that a solid release date can be key to a film’s success. Opening a month ago, Bullet Train has never fallen out of the Top 4, which is an impressive feat in today’s opening weekend-dominated world.
With an opening weekend of just $6.8 Million last week, The Invitation actually had a decent hold in its second weekend, losing just 31% of its audience with $4.7 Million. I thought the C Cinemascore would see this one absolutely plummet in its second week, but perhaps $3 tickets were the key to success, especially for a horror movie.
Spots six through nine were comprised of holdovers Beast with $3.6 Million, Minions: The Rise of Gru with $3.1 Million, Thor: Love and Thunder with $2.4 Million, and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero with $2.4 Million.
Rounding out the top ten was another re-release, this one from a little further back than Spider-Man: 1975’s Jaws which was released on over 1000 Imax and Real D 3D screens and was able to secure $2.3 Million for the weekend for a running 46 year domestic total of $266.2 Million.
The new release Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul was outside the top ten, finishing with just $1.44 Million for the weekend. No doubt its simultaneous release on Peacock undercut its box office potential.
So the real wild card of the weekend was the first ever National Cinema Day that saw $3 tickets on Saturday. Judging from the numbers, it appears the day actually worked in terms of bringing people out to see some of the summer holdovers they hadn’t had the chance to check out yet, with several films seeing a rise in week-to-week grosses. I would not be surprised if this becomes a Labor Day weekend tradition going forward. Of course, if it does, would any studio risk a new release in the marketplace that could potentially be undercut by $3 tickets?
Did any of you venture to theaters on National Cinema Day? Did you notice a busier lobby than normal? Did you take the extra money and enjoy some nice movie theater treats? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out our poll and let us know what movie you would love to see Re-Released to theaters.