"The Possession" fended off "Lawless" and two-time champion "The Expendables 2" to become the #1 movie in America, but the story most likely to go down in box office lore surrounds the weekend's biggest loser.
Earlier this year, "The Avengers" set the all-time opening-weekend record at the box office. And now, as Marvel's superhero team-up passed the $1.5 billion mark worldwide, 2012 saw a new record for lowest opening weekend for a wide release, courtesy of "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure." Labor Day weekend is generally soft, but the $448,000 collected by the children's movie from 2,160 theaters was exceptionally bad. "Oogieloves" averaged just $207 per theater. Previous "worst debut in wide release" record-holder, "Diego," made $511,920 four years ago.
Speaking of per-screen averages and box-office records, "2016: Obama's America" expanded from 1,091 to 1,747 theaters over the weekend but saw its per-theater average drop 51 percent. The conservative documentary has made $18.2 million and should soon become the second-biggest political documentary ever, right behind Michael Moore's 2004 election-year anti-George W. Bush polemic, "Fahrenheit 9/11." Despite an expected bump from the Republican National Convention, the $5.1 million weekend total was only enough to place "2016" at #9.
Some box-office experts had rightly predicted a win for "The Possession," the low-budget horror flick from producer Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Productions team, whose credits include "The Grudge." The supernatural scare picture collected an estimated $17.7 million during its first three days in theaters. Lionsgate spent just $14 million on the picture. The studio had the #1 movie for two weeks in a row with "The Expendables 2" (now #3 with $8.8 million toward a $66.1 million total) and reigned for four weeks with "The Hunger Games."
"Lawless" did better than some prognosticators expected, bringing in $9.6 million in its 2,888-theater debut. The Prohibition-era drama stars Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain and Shia LaBeouf, who recently told MTV News that moonshine is "the quickest drunk."
Jeremy Renner's first turn heading up the "Bourne" franchise, "The Bourne Legacy," came in fourth with $7.2 million. "Legacy" should cross the $100 million mark later this week. That still trails the series' lowest-grossing entry, "The Bourne Identity," which made $121 million.
"ParaNorman" was the #5 movie over the weekend, dropping 24 percent in its second weekend with $6.55 million for a $38 million gross.