‘Indiana Jones’ Shows Up Newbies During Decade’s Weakest Box Office

IMAX re-release of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' had a stronger per-screen average than any 2012 films.

The most successful movie at the box office this weekend was originally released in 1981.

The weekend numbers were so dismal for theaters that the IMAX re-release of Indiana Jones’ first adventure, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” had a stronger per-screen average than any of the 2012 films at the cinema, including a brand-new flick produced by and starring Bradley Cooper.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” in IMAX made $1.7 million on just 267 screens, compared to the roughly 3,000 theaters each of the top four movies were available. That translates to a $6,460 per-screen average for the Steven Spielberg classic starring Harrison Ford as the whip-handy archeologist.

Horror flick “Possession” held on to the #1 spot for a second weekend with $9.5 million. Produced by “Evil Dead” mastermind Sam Raimi and featuring reggae star Matisyahu in one role, “Possession” averaged little more than half of what “Raiders” did per-screen. On the upside, it was made for under $15 million.

Cooper’s long-gestating passion project “The Words” was only able to eke out a #3 debut with just $5 million during the worst weekend at the box office since the weekend after September 11, 2001.

Box-office pundits blamed the start of the school year, the kickoff of the NFL season and a lack of compelling new releases. “The Words” carried a lowly 16 percent critical average on Rotten Tomatoes at press time and “Cold Light of Day,” the weekend’s other bomb, was at just 9 percent.

Sylvester Stallone’s action-veteran packed “Expendables 2″ fell to #4 over the weekend, with $4.7 million for a $75.4 million domestic haul. Prohibition-era drama “Lawless” was #2 with $6 million for a two-week total of $23.5 million. “The Bourne Legacy” finished fifth with $4 million. The fourth “Bourne” movie and first without series star Matt Damon has made $103.7 million, the least of all of the flicks thus far.

The weekend’s only other new wide release aside from “The Words,” Summit Entertainment’s “The Cold Light of Day,” mustered just $1.8 million in its debut. The movie stars future Superman Henry Cavill, who will wear the red cape in next summer’s “Man of Steel.”

Speaking of Warner Bros. superhero movies, “The Dark Knight Rises” passed the $600 million mark overseas. The third entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has made more than $1 billion overall, beating 2008′s “The Dark Knight” overseas but trailing that film’s grosses domestically.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Possession.”