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Weekend Wrap-Up: Box Office Gets Possessive

September 4th, 2012

There's good news and bad news for the Labor Day long weekend. Overall, the box office was a little stronger than predicted with The Possession having the second best Labor Day long weekend opening of all time. (Only Halloween had a stronger opening.) This helped the overall box office rise 7.0% from last weekend to $104 million. However, despite this performance, the overall weekend was softer than last year down 2.5% over the three-day portion of the weekend and 3.3% over the four-day portion of the weekend. Year-to-date, 2012 still maintains a lead of 2011 at $7.61 billion to $7.34 billion. The lead is down to 3.6% in terms of revenue and just 2.4% in terms of tickets sold. We might see a further drop in attendance, which would be a huge collapse after an incredibly strong spring and early summer.

The Possession was a surprise winner at the box office earning $17.73 million over the three-day portion of the weekend for a four-day opening of $21.08 million. Horror films have done surprisingly well over this weekend in the past with four of the top six openings of all time from this genre. (Halloween is number one, then this film, with the two Jeepers Creepers films coming in at sixth and fourth respectively.) As for the film's future, its reviews are weak, but likely not fatal for this type of film, but horror films rarely have strong legs regardless of their reviews. Since it reportedly only cost $14 million to make, the studio might have already made back its production budget, while it has the rest of its domestic run, international box office, and the home market to cover its worldwide P&A budget. That should be an easy task.

Lawless matched expectations perfectly with $10.00 million over the three-day portion of the weekend and $15.01 million from Wednesday through Sunday. With 66% positive reviews, the film shouldn't collapse next weekend, but the best it can hope for now is a midlevel hit. This is better than original expectations, so the studio has to be a little happy with the results, given the time of year.

The Expendables 2 earned $9.03 million / $11.46 million over the weekend, which was within a rounding error of expectations. Its running tally rose to $68.81 million after three weeks of release. Its international numbers have been better and it should break even sometime on the home market.

The Bourne Legacy scored fourth place with $7.23 million / $9.31 million over the weekend for a total of $98.31 million so far. It may have already crossed the century mark by the time you read this column.

ParaNorman was right behind with $6.57 million / $8.97 million over the weekend, which lifted its box office haul to $40.45 million so far. This is an okay total given the time of year and its more niche market appeal. However, given its reviews, it should have performed better.

The final wide release of the week was The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, which did break records for the worst wide opening of all time at just $444,000 over the three-day portion of the weekend, while from Wednesday through Monday it made just $836,000. The film has been beaten up a lot in the media, so discussing it more seems mean. However, in trying to analyze the film's performance, it is clear that this film will go down as one of the biggest money losers of all time. Additionally, if the reports are true and the film cost $20 million to make and $40 million to advertise and distribute, then I fail to see how the studio was going to make a profit under the best of circumstances. How many films can you think of that came out in theaters that were aimed at preschoolers? Follow that Bird and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland are the only two that spring to mind. Both films were based on wildly popular franchises, and even so, neither was a hit in theaters. Preschoolers don't go to movie theaters.

Looking in on the sophomore class, Premium Rush held on the best, but it still fell out of the top ten with $3.97 million / $5.15 million over the weekend for a total of $13.51 million after two. Given its reviews, it should have been a bigger hit. Hit and Run was right behind with $2.59 million / $3.26 million over the weekend. It's running tally is just $10.73 million, which would have been a soft opening weekend. The Apparition fell 78% to just $632,000 over the three-day portion of the weekend. That's not the worst sophomore stint decline of all-time, but it is in the top 20. Adding in Monday, it made $789,000 for a total of $4.41 million.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, The Apparition, Premium Rush, The Bourne Legacy, The Possession, The Expendables 2, ParaNorman, Lawless, Hit & Run