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'Final Destination' wins Labor Day box office race

  • Story Highlights
  • Holdover "The Final Destination" took the top spot at the holiday box office
  • Gerard Butler's action spectacle earned an expected $11.2 million
  • South African sci fi saga "District 9" finally broke the $100 million mark
By Adam Markovitz
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Entertainment Weekly

(Entertainment Weekly) -- It happens every year: Memorial Day kicks off the summer with a box office bang, and Labor Day ends it with a whimper.

"The Final Destination" took the top spot at the box office Labor Day weekend, holding over from No. 1 last week.

"The Final Destination" took the top spot at the box office Labor Day weekend, holding over from No. 1 last week.

While overall numbers were up compared to this frame in 2008, audiences didn't show much enthusiasm for anything at the multiplex this weekend.

Three wide-release newcomers -- "All About Steve," "Gamer," and "Extract" -- grossed just $30.4 million combined, while holdovers "The Final Destination," "Inglourious Basterds," and "District 9" took three of the top five slots.

Here's how it played out over the four-day weekend (Friday-Monday):

1. "The Final Destination" -- $15.4 million. Despite the short shelf-life of most teen horror pics, this 3-D sequel kept its grip on fans thanks to a dearth of exciting new offerings. The fourth chapter in the horror series has already earned $50.6 million in two weekends, putting it on track to become the franchise's highest grosser, easily beating 2006's "Final Destination 3" ($54.1 million).

2. "Inglourious Basterds" -- $15 million. With $95.2 million and counting, Quentin Tarantino's gonzo WWII epic continued to show great legs in its third weekend as it marched steadily toward the $100 million mark. It's another feather in star Brad Pitt's box office cap, but the news is especially good for Tarantino, who hasn't had a $100 million-plus hit since 1994's "Pulp Fiction" ($107.9 million), and studio The Weinstein Company, which could use the bragging rights after fending off rumors of financial ruin earlier this year.

3. "All About Steve" -- $13.9 million. This off-kilter rom com, the only movie in the top five without an R-rating, was hindered by scathing reviews. But it still scored the highest per-screen average in the top ten ($6,175 from 2,251 sites) thanks to good will for stars Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper, both of whom are still riding high from massive summer smashes: Her "Proposal" made $270.8 million worldwide, while his "Hangover" raked in $421.1 million.

4. "Gamer" -- $11.2 million. Gerard Butler's action spectacle earned exactly what action spectacles tend to earn over Labor Day. For example, the Vin Diesel flop "Babylon A.D." took in $11.5 million over the four-day weekend last year, while Jason Statham's "Crank" made $12.9 million in 2006. 15 videogame-based movies: How'd they score?

5. "District 9" -- $9 million. The South African sci-fi saga finally broke the $100 million mark this weekend thanks to a minuscule 12 percent drop -- a sure sign of good buzz for the underdog hit.

The week's other new wide release, "Extract" (No. 10, $5.3 million), failed to find much of an audience thanks to grim reviews. But that's business as usual for writer-director Mike Judge, whose cult hit "Office Space" bowed to just $4.2 million back in 1999 ("Extract's" three-day haul this weekend was a near-identical $4.4 million).

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