Los Angeles: Hollywood movie executives were left congratulating themselves after yet another remake helped the summer box office surge past the $4 billion barrier.
The success of “Halloween”, an updated version of John Carpenter’s classic 1978 slasher flick ensured that the final weekend of the movie industry’s summer blockbuster season ended with a money-spinning flourish.
The gruesome remake netted $30.6 million to take top spot, beating out hit teen comedy “Superbad” into second place with $15.8 million.
Box office takings over the Labor Day holiday weekend were the highest on record, with final figures of $121.5 million over the four days, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Total receipts for the crucial summer season -- which runs from early May until the end of August and is the studios’ most important period of the year -- were $4.1 billion, Exhibitor Relations said.
It is the first time in movie history that the $4 billion mark has been broken, and comes after a summer season characterized by a string of blockbuster sequels or remakes, with “SpiderMan 3” and “Shrek the Third” both enjoying record openings.
“Obviously it’s been a very good year for the studios,” said Lew Harris, editor of the Movies.com website. “They were clearly going for a big summer, youth audience and they’ve got it.”
“This year’s films didn’t have a lot of originality but at the same time some of them were very crowd pleasing. Films like ‘The Bourne Ultimatum´ succeeded brilliantly.”
Harris said the success of racy comedies such as “Superbad” and “Knocked Up” earlier in the year offered a clue to future box-office trends, suggesting that after a “summer of sequels” theatre-goers might be offered a “summer of sex.”
“‘Knocked Up´ and ‘Superbad´ were two huge surprises,” Harris said. “Hollywood is pretty copycat. I expect we’re going to be seeing a decent amount of raunch over the next few summers.”
Last weekend’s box office was up nearly 13% on the same period from last year -- the eighth “up” weekend in a row.
Behind “Superbad” was another screwball comedy “Balls of Fury,” a film about dueling table tennis players which netted $14.3 million.
The latest instalment about the adventures of amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne -- “The Bourne Ultimatum” -- was fourth with $13.4 million.
Jackie Chan’s slapstick cop caper “Rush Hour 3” was fifth with $10.8 million while British comedian Rowan Atkinson’s bungling Mr Bean was sixth with $7.9 million for “Mr Bean’s Holiday.”
Rounding out the top 10 were “The Nanny Diaries” (6.5 million), “Death Sentence” (5.3 million), “War” (5.3 million), and “Stardust” (4.1 million).