A new Labor Day weekend record was set by 20th Century Fox’s The Transporter 2, which took advantage of a dearth of worthy competition to claim the top spot with $20.3 million over the four-day period. Delivering a final dose of ridiculous action and general summer silliness, the sequel buried newcomers The Constant Gardener from Focus Features, Underclassman from Miramax and the vfx-laden A Sound of Thunder from Warner Bros., all of which rolled out in fairly limited release.
Late summer is known as more of a dumping ground for mediocre pics than a showcase for true contenders. Having little confidence in it’s latest effects extravaganza, Warner Bros. dropped A Sound of Thunder in just over 800 venues, leaving it scavenge for meager scraps. Directed by Peter Hyams (The Relic, Capricorn One), The long delayed pic (shot in 2002) took in $1.1 million amid bad reviews. A lot of criticism has focused on the movie’s under-whelming effects work by QIX, Furious FX, UFO FX, Black Mountain Studio, Modern VideoFilm and Zoic Studio. However, some reviewers have expressed a fondness for the sci-fi thriller’s old-fashioned B-movie appeal, not to mention its roots in the imagination of respected sci-fi author Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles).
Back-to-school means a return of serious, more adult-oriented fare such as The Constant Gardener, a political thriller starring Ralph Fiennes. The film earned a respectable $10.8 million from 1346 theaters, settling for third place behind the Universal hit comedy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which scored another $16.5 million.
DreamWorks’ Red Eye and Dimension Films’ The Brothers Grimm round out the top five with around $9.3 million and $7.9 million respectively. The expensive Grimm, made for a reported $88 million, has earned back just north of $27 million in the past two weeks.