The box office report is in for the labor day weekend, with a weak opening for the George Clooney vehicle The American with a 4 day weekend gross of just over 16 million in the United States.
This low intake seems typical with what "labor day films" seem to draw, and it makes sense to me.
Here's why it seems to me this happens.
1. Summer's last Bookend. If the film was going to be a blockbuster, why didn't they release it during the summer? Labor Day weekend seems like a dumping ground for films that aren't quite award winners and aren't quite summer blockbusters. It seems like a place studios have recently dropped horror films (Jeepers Creepers, 2007's Halloween) or less than exceptional comedies (Balls of Fury, All About Steve).
2. College Football & Cooler Weather. Obviously your "Entertainment Weekly" subscribes and your "Sports Illustrated" subscribers are different crowds. But your ESPN watchers and your film watchers are often similar circles. Americans across the United States have spent a lot of time in front of the TV these weekend and when not in front of the TV watching the college football season kick off. If they're not watching TV, then they are enjoying a cooler weather that comes at the tail end of summer. The last place people are likely to retreat to is the dark cool movie theater.