LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - A disastrous domestic summer box office is ending on a low note.
Without any fresh competition in wide release, "Hitman's Bodyguard" appears the be the holiday weekend's movie of choice. The Lionsgate release with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson at the center is tracking to earn $12.9 million from 3,370 locations over the four-day weekend. Its seemingly imminent win would make "Hitman's Bodyguard" the only flick this summer to retain the top spot on the domestic box office charts for three consecutive weekends. "Dunkirk," "Wonder Woman," and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" each stayed first for two frames.
But while the action comedy is certainly profitable at this point, its threepeat is less due to the movie's overwhelming popularity, and more attributable to the lack of alternatives. This -- the first Labor Day weekend in recent history without a new wide release -- is tracking to have the lowest four-day total for the holiday in nearly two decades. The 28 movies currently in release are tracking to bring in about $94 million. Not since 1998 when "There's Something About Mary" led the box office with $10.9 million* and all 29 movies in release earned $78.8 million has the holiday weekend dropped so low.
Of the weekend's two medium-sized launched, Sony's re-release of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is faring better. The 40th anniversary theatrical event is set to take in $2.3 million for the four-day holiday weekend from 901 locations. Meanwhile, TWC's long-delayed release "Tulip Fever" is not finding its audience. The historical drama starring Alicia Vikander is expected to earn $1.5 million from 765 locations.