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The summer box office surpasses $4 billion as ‘The Equalizer 3″ scores the second best Labor Day debut

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Source: Sony

The Equalizer

Denzel Washington rounded off what has turned out to be the first $4bn summer season since pre-pandemic times as The Equalizer 3 delivered the second best Labor Day weekend debut on an estimated $42m over four days.

  • ‘Barbenheimer’ drives North American summer box office towards $4bn

The latest entry in the action franchise earned $34.5m over the Friday to Sunday portion of the holiday session and led an otherwise typically soft Labor Day, which marks the end of the summer season and is a time when people are celebrating with family or travelling.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings ranks as the highest grossing Labor Day four-day release on $94.7m through Disney/Marvel in 2021 and earned $75.4m over three days.

The $4bn milestone has only been achieved 12 times prior to 2023 (in terms of unadjusted figures) and marked a 16% gain on 2022 and a 5.7% drop on 2019. The impact of Barbenheimer cannot be overstated: prior to the release of those two box office smashes on July 21 summer trailed 2019 by 15%.

Yet an entirely respectable season that would ordinarily have been cause for optimism heading into the leaner months before the year-end rally of awards season contenders and holiday releases is tempered by the reality of a broken Hollywood.

The ongoing dual strikes have forced studios to push major releases into 2024, keenly aware of two things: without stars, an opening weekend will suffer – films with A-listers more so than others – although precisely how much is hard to quantify; and the drastic production slowdown has created empty pockets next year which need to be filled.

Sony moved Kraven The Hunter off October 6 into next August and Warner Bros punted Dune: Part Two from November 3 to March. Taylor Swift is taking a break from her record-breaking world tour to help the box office. The studios will be unhappy that they will not get a penny of ticket sales but AMC CEO Adam Aron, whose company like every other cinema chain endured a torrid time during Covid, had to take the initiative and grab the opportunity.

Returning to Labor Day weekend box office, Warner Bros’ four quadrant smash Barbie was next on $10.6m in its seventh weekend for $609.5m. It is the highest grossing film of the year in North America, internationally and now worldwide after overtaking

The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s $1.359bn to reach $1.381bn.Universal’s Oppenheimer in fifth place stands at $308.6m after seven sessions, while last weekend’s champion

Gran Turismo from Sony dropped a hefty 62.4% and three slots on $6.6m for a $28.7m running total.Berlin Film Festival artistic director Carlo Chatrian to step down following 2024 edition

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