Overall revenues for the top-50 films during the four-day holiday weekend came in at $192 million, the lowest since 2001. Factoring in today's higher admission prices, about 24.2 million tickets were sold, the least since a 22.5 million head count in 1993, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
While "Shrek Forever After" finished first again, holding up well with $57.1 million from Friday to Monday, the weekend's big new releases got off to so-so starts.
Jake Gyllenhaal's action tale "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" came in second with $37.8 million. Sarah Jessica Parker's "Sex and the City 2," which many thought would debut at No. 1, wound up in third with $36.8 million.
"When you have a Memorial Day weekend down this much, it just tells me the movies in the marketplace are just not grabbing people the way they have in past years," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.
Domestic revenues over Memorial Day weekend last year came in at $221.3 million for the top-50 films, with movie attendance at 30.1 million. Memorial Day weekend attendance reached a modern peak of 39.6 million in 2004, when "Shrek 2" was in theaters.