“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.