Tropic Thunder may have been the No. 1 film at the box office over the Labor Day weekend but the title hardly described the bleak state of the movie business overall as ticket sales fell a whopping $23.5 percent below the comparable holiday weekend a year ago. Tropic Thunder earned just $14.6 million compared with $30.6 million for Halloween, which led the box office last Labor Day weekend. And while the movie has now taken in $86.9 million, it has a long way to go before it can cover its $90-million cost after payments to theaters and marketing and distribution expenses are taken into account. For the year, total revenue for all films stood at $6.667 billion, down 0.86 percent from last year's $6.725 billion. Attendance was down 4.74 percent, according to figures from Media by Numbers.

The top ten films over the four-day Labor Day weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date) 1. Tropic Thunder, Paramount, $14,602,121, 3 Wks. ($86,935,945); 2. Babylon A.D. Fox, $11,541,571, (New); 3. The Dark Knight , Warner Bros., $11,127,290, 7 Wks. ($504,798,337); 4. The House Bunny , Sony, $10,177,701, 2 Wks. ($29,728,944); 5. Traitor, Overture Films, $10,006,327, 1 Wk. ($11,507,654-- from Wednesday); 6. Death Race, Universal, $7,889,755, 2 Wks. ($24,739,285); 7. Disaster Movie , Lionsgate, $6,945,535, (New); 8. Mamma Mia!, Universal, $5,421,815, 7 Wks. ($132,512,495); 9. Pineapple Express , Sony, $4,448,782, 4 Wks. ($80,832,163); 10. Star Wars The Clone Wars , Warner Bros., $3,764,410, 3 Wks. ($30,672,432).

03/09/2008