Box office readies for slowest weekend of the year


All signs point to another B.O. win for Guardians of the Galaxy, which should, once again and for the fourth weekend in a row, out-gross the other films screening in theatres. As the weekend following Labor Day is notoriously slow, none of the major studios chose this Friday to release a new film.  The lone movie opening nationwide, The Identical, hails from Freestyle Releasing. Many believe this weekend will be so lackluster it claims the title of Slowest Weekend of the Year – the slowest weekend of the past decade, in fact, fell over this same post-Labor Day spread in 2008. Over those three days, the top 12 films earned a measly $50.3 million in total.

Guardians will no longer screen in IMAX theatres and will “only” play in 3,221 locations. Still, it’s been holding well these past few weeks, and should rake in a total around $10 million. Assuming it does earn the No. 1 spot at the box office for a fourth consecutive weekend, it will be the first film to do so since 2012’s The Hunger Games.

The Identical bows in 1,956 theatres beginning today. The film about an Elvis Presley-like star and his twin brother, from whom he was separated at birth, has been receiving abysmal reviews – it’s currently tracking 2 percent rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. Identical is aimed squarely at the same faith-based audience that made hits of Heaven Is for Real and God’s Not Dead (another Freestyle Releasing title) earlier this year. However, holdovers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and If I Stay are still expected to pull out ahead of the critically reviled flick, claiming the No. 2 and 3 spots at the box office, respectively. Look for The Identical to pull in returns around $5 million.

Although several more indie films are opening in limited release this weekend, the other event bow is a once-major re-release. Paramount is screening its Forrest Gump in 337 IMAX theatres. The studio experienced modest success with this strategy last year, when it re-released Raiders of the Lost Ark in 267 IMAX theatres and made $1.67 million from the gambit. Gump, which was the highest-grossing film of 1994, should also earn around $1 million.