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From Reuters.com

Box office slide likely to continue into September (serenity mention)

By Martin A. Grove

Friday 2 September 2005, by Webmaster

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As happy as Hollywood is to see this summer disappear, it’s a real downer that it has to be followed by September.

Historically, September doesn’t deliver a knockout punch at the box office because many potential moviegoers are returning to school or work. And unlike the summer, September’s big event titles are more likely to be found in the new television season than in movie theaters.

Even when films do open well in September they don’t do killer business. Only two September three-day openings have ever exceeded $30 million — "Sweet Home Alabama" with $35.6 million in 2002 and "Rush Hour" with $33 million in 1998. By contrast, nine films have topped $30 million for three-day openings in August over the years, and four in October.

Last September, the No. 1 film over the four-day Labor Day weekend (September 3-6) was Miramax’s martial arts action adventure "Hero" with all of $11.5 million in its second round.

The situation improved the following weekend, when "Resident Evil" from Sony’s Screen Gems scared up a three-day gross of $23 million, which turned out to be the month’s biggest launch.

Things took a turn for the worse during the third weekend when Paramount’s costly sci-fi adventure "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" opened in first place with just $15.6 million. The month ended with Sony’s sci-fi thriller "The Forgotten" leading the pack with an O.K. $21 million.

Without making any value judgments sight unseen, here’s what’s on deck in terms of wide September openings.

Labor Day weekend will bring four wide arrivals: Focus Features’ R-rated suspense thriller "The Constant Gardener" (which opened Wednesday), directed by the Oscar-nominated director of "City of God" Fernando Meirelles and starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz; Warner Bros.’ PG-13-rated suspense thriller "A Sound of Thunder," starring Edward Burns and Catherine McCormack; Fox’s PG-13 action adventure "Transporter 2," starring Jason Statham; and Miramax’s PG-13 rated comedy "Underclassman," starring Nick Cannon.

September 9 is the month’s most relaxed weekend with only two wide breaks: the PG-13-rated horror thriller "Exorcism of Emily Rose" from Screen Gems, starring Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson; and New Line’s PG-13-rated action comedy "The Man," starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy.

September 16 will be humming with five wide openings: Focus’ PG-13 suspense thriller "Cry Wolf," starring Julian Morris, Lindy Booth and Jared Padalecki; DreamWorks’ PG-13 romantic fantasy drama "Just Like Heaven," starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo; Lions Gate Films’ R-rated action-adventure "Lord of War," starring Nicolas Cage and Ethan Hawke; Miramax’s PG-13-rated drama "Proof," starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhaal; and Dimension Films’ R-rated horror thriller "Venom," starring Agnes Bruckner.

September 23 will be busy enough with three wide launches: Disney’s PG-13-rated thriller "FlightPlan," starring Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard; Fox Searchlight’s PG-13 urban comedy "Roll Bounce," starring Chi McBride; and Warner Bros.’ PG-rated stop motion animated fantasy "Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride" (opening a week earlier in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto), starring such voice talents as Helena Bonham-Carter, Johnny Depp and Albert Finney. September 30 will be as jam-packed as mid-summer with six wide openings: Disney’s PG-rated golf theme drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played," starring Shia La Beouf; New Line’s R-rated suspense thriller "A History of Violence," starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Ed Harris; Columbia’s release of MGM’s PG-13 action adventure "Into the Blue," starring Paul Walker, Jessica Alba and Scott Caan; the PG-13 drama "Oliver Twist" from Sony’s TriStar Pictures, starring Ben Kingsley; the PG-13 drama "Prize Winner of Definance, Ohio" from DreamWorks’ Go Fish label, starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson; and Universal’s sci-fi action adventure "Serenity," from writer-director Joss Whedon.