The four-day Labor Day holiday, ordinarily a lackluster one at the box office, lacked even more luster than usual this year, as the top film, DreamWorks/Paramount's Tropic Thunder took in just $14.3 million. Last year, Halloween opened with $30.6 million, a record for the holiday. It was the sixth consecutive weekend that the box office produced totals lower than last year. "Kind of an underwhelming end to a great summer," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office trackers Media by Numbers, told the Associated Press. The box office, he indicated has had to compete with the Olympics and Hurricane Gustav (which washed out attendance in a wide area of the Southeast) and also to confront the overall languishing economy. Nevertheless, the weekend, which also marks the end of the summer season for the studios, set a new record of $586.9 million, even though that figure was just 0.43 percent above last year's. Attendance was down 3.5 percent, however. Things are not expected to improve much next weekend. September is often the time of year when studios dump their least promising titles.
The top ten films for the four-day Labor Day weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers 1. Tropic Thunder , $14.3 million; 2. Babylon A.D. , $12 million; 3. The Dark Knight , $11 million; 4. The House Bunny, $10.2 million; 5. Traitor, $10 million; 6. Death Race, $8.2 million; 7. Disaster Movie, $6.9 million; 8. Mamma Mia!, $5.8 million; 9. Pineapple Express, $4.5 million; 10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona, $3.5 million.