Labor Day

Budget: $18 million Financed by: Indian Paintbrush; Paramount
Domestic Gross: $13,371,528 Domestic Distributor: Paramount
Overseas Gross: $6,904,284
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Kate Winslet
Josh Brolin
Produced by: Steven M. Rales

Labor day box officeLabor Day was the first of two Jason Reitman misfires in 2014, the second being the box office fiasco Men, Women & Children — both films co-financed by Indian Paintbrush and Paramount.  Labor Day was was budgeted at $18 million and originally scheduled to open on Christmas 2013 in a limited release, where it would expand over a few weekends, but in November Paramount moved the pic to a wide release on January 31, 2014 — as counter-programming over the Superbowl weekend targeting female auds.  Labor Day was tracking for a soft $8 million weekend, but opened with a poor $5,175,282 — placing #7 for the weekend led by holdovers Ride Along and Frozen and new opener That Awkward Moment.  It had a modest 38.5% second frame decline to $3,184,785 but sank 60.7% over its third weekend when Valentine’s Day openers Endless Love, Winter’s Tale and About Last Night opened and were courting similar auds.  The film closed its run with $13,371,528.  Overseas, Labor Day was a dud with a $6.9 million cume, tanking in every market with $1.1 million from the UK as the highest gross and it went straight to video in Italy.  After theaters take their percentage of the gross, Paramount would see back about $11.1 million from the worldwide total — leaving much of the P&A spend in the red and the budget at a loss.  Months later, Jason Reitman criticized the sappy marketing campaign and the trailers for not focusing on the perspective of the child.  You can toss all the money in the world into marketing, but a misguided ad strategy such as Paramount also promoting National Pie Day on all marketing material (yes, you read that right) is a real head scratcher to why that would drive audiences to the theater.  Domestic home video sales were $5.2 million (less after resellers take their cut and manufacturing costs).