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Monday, September 7, 2015

#BoxOffice Report: 'Transporter' Struggles, 'War Room' Excels...Sort Of

The big news about this weekend's lackluster box office isn't what you think.

Story by Matt Cummings

August 2015 broke all kinds of box office records, none of which to hang your hat on. September is off to just as bad a start, with a collection of new releases that just aren't bringing in the crowds. Suffering might be good for the soul, but this is ridiculous.

Coming in at No. 1 was the faith-based War Room with $12.55m, which represents a slight 18% drop in its second week. The Sony film benefited from strong word of mouth and an expansion of theaters (391). Its 27.86m total haul over 11 days is guaranteed to further unleash more of the low-budget God films, but look for smart placement in the schedule to be a deciding factor of each success.

Falling to No. 2 was Straight Outta Compton with an estimated four-day haul of $11.06m. Having owned the past three weekends, the F. Gary Gray N.W.A biopic fell only 16% and actually trailed War Room by a slight $1.49m. Its 25-day take of $149.9m makes it an unqualified success, probably guaranteeing that we'll see more rap biopics in the near future. Whether that's a good thing or not us up to you decide.

The Robert Redford comedy A Walk in the Woods trotted off with a respectable $10.35m, grossing a total of $12.25m in just six days. This is most likely due to its solid 'B' rating on CinemaScore, as well as a decent 61% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A film with much more solid numbers (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) fell to No. 4 with a four-day haul of $9.3m. The Tom Cruise/Rebecca Ferguson action/spy pic was actually up 14% from last weekend, thanks in large part to its strong 92%/90% Rotten Tomatoes score and a worthy 'A-' from CinemaScore. Its $183m gross is getting close to overtaking Ghost Protocol's $209m, although it will have to hurry to do so. It has perhaps two weeks left before the real fun begins, with releases like Sicario and the Johnny Depp drama Black Mass looking to get the box office back on track with big opening numbers.

And then there's the No. 5 movie for the long weekend, The Transporter Refueled. Its extremely soft (read: disappointing) $9m opening was at the lower end of estimates, perhaps due to poor reviews and a lack of buzz over Actor Jason Statham's absence. While it opened better than Hitman: Agent 47, there doesn't seem to be a lot of long-term interest for Transporter, which was EuropaCorp Films' first wide release, given CinemaScore's 'B-' rating and Rotten Tomatoes' depressing 17%/35% split.

The coup thriller No Escape fell to sixth with an estimated $7.03m. The Owen Wilson/Pierce Brosnan/Lake Bell film was down only 13% from last weekend, proving that smaller (and honestly very good) films like this can prosper when they receive good word of mouth. No Escape has grossed $20.03m through 13 days of release.

At $84.93m for the top 12, Labor Day weekend managed to steer clear of the disastrous ebb that characterized the later half of August. Although not the worst ever (that one goes to 1983) Labor Day weekend 2015 has proved to be nothing if consistent with the last few weeks: low and slow. As you could see from our analysis, only $6m separated No. 1 from No. 6 - that would have been great had we been talking about receipts in the $60m range, but we're not. Late September should pick up, so the clock is ticking on the above films to make it before The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials and Sicario are released.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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