box office special

Labor Day, while an awesome excuse to lay around and do nothing for three days, is about as fallow a film going period as you'll find on the calendar. Just two years ago, "Halloween" set a new four-day weekend record with $30 million. Some weekends, that wouldn't even qualify for 2nd place, but on Labor Day it's a record.

Just like that it's over: one of the most highly anticipated weekends by horror fans in recent memory has come and gone. And while the merits of both "The Final Destination" and "Halloween 2" may be debated for some time, the box office results paint a far clearer picture.

In the seven weeks since "Transformers 2" opened the average budget for a weekend-winning film has been $156 million. That's an average, mind you, and it's weighed down somewhat by "Bruno," which opened at #1 after costing only a measly $42 million. Truly, this summer, big-budgets have been king. Even "Bruno" was the most expensive new release in the weekend that it won.

Last week, "Star Trek" did quite well for itself, as it managed to take in a terrific opening haul as well as win near universal praise from critics. So, as these things tend to work, Paramount immediately rolled out its front-runner advertising campaign, which championed "Star Trek" as the nation's number one movie, etc, etc. Unfortunately, they're only going to get one week out of those ads.

If you've landed at this post, I'd take a wild stab and say that you might have trouble naming the number one film at the box office this weekend. Hell, I was downright shocked when I looked it up myself. Largely that's a function of it not being "for us," but it's also a function of this week's releases not getting a ton of wattage from the hype machine. Sure, there was the "Observe and Report" brouhaha over date rape, but that certainly didn't help the film at the box office.

In what may be a landmark first, the top three films at this past weekend's box office were all (at least marginally) genre themed releases. Leading the way in what was an extremely strong weekend overall was "Monsters vs. Aliens," a 3-D tribute to creature features past as well as a big budget animated kids film. It was also the largest opening of the year thus far, beating out "Watchmen" by roughly 10%, with a total of $59 million. "M vs.

Though the folks behind "Disaster Movie" apparently didn't get the memo, the genre has been in decline for sometime. The last legitimate success, "The Day After Tomorrow," came five years ago, opened at #2, and only really entered the win column with a very strong overseas showing.

The box office cooled off a bit this week, which shouldn't come as a surprise. The "Watchmen" build-up had reached almost intolerable levels going into last weekend, and movie goers and industry types all probably just needed a weekend off from feeding at the trough of hype. There were a trio of new releases though, including the "Last House on the Left" remake, which became the sixth horror release of 2009.