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September 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ordinarily, the Labor Day weekend is written off by the major studios as a loser, when many films play to empty or near-empty screening rooms — a time to roll out horror, mediocre or niche product. But final figures for the past Labor Day holiday could very well encourage studio execs to reappraise their strategy. The holiday wound up with a total of $160 million in ticket sales, a whopping 19 percent above a year ago when the total was $134 million and when Lionsgate’s horror flick The Possession debuted with $21.1 million. As box-office maven Paul Dergarabedian observed, it was the biggest box-office haul for a Labor Day weekend in history. In its third week, Lee Daniels’ The Butler dropped just 10 percent to $20.2 million over the four-day period, followed by the documentary concert film One Direction: This Is Us with $18.5 million. After four weeks, the comedy We’re the Millers slipped just 3 percent from the previous week to $16.3 million to place third. Also after four weeks, Disney’s animated Planes, landing in fourth place, took in $10.9 million, dropping just 10 percent behind last week. But the most astonishing result was produced by the Spanish-language Instructions Not Included, which debuted in fifth place with $10.9 million, the biggest opening in history for a Spanish-language film in North America. Dergarabedian on Tuesday predicted that the film will become “one of the highest-grossing Spanish-language films ever.”

The top ten films over the 3-day/4-day Labor Day weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):

1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Weinstein Co. $14,878,286/$20,201,272, 3 Wks. ($79,466,378); 2. One Direction: This Is Us, Sony/Tristar, $15,815,497/$18,472,875, (New); 3. We’re the Millers, Warner Bros., $12,715,243/$16,288,094, 4 Wks. ($113,240,012); 4. Planes, Disney, $7,751,705/$10,882,322, 4 Wks. ($73,969,992); 5. Instructions Not Included, Pantelion/Lionsgate, $7,846,426/$10,378,558, (New); 6. Elysium, Sony/Tristar, $6,438,868/$8,420,783, 4 Wks. ($80,524,512); 7. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Sony/Screen Gems, $5,475,416/$7,069,709, 2 Wks. ($24,523,893); 8. The World’s End, Focus, $5,036,312/$6,511,335, 2 Wks. ($18,320,569); 9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Fox, $4,481,327/$6,189,447, 4 Wks. ($56,729,466); 10. Getaway, Warner Bros., $4,503,892/$5,606,142, (New).