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After significant neglect during the summer movie season, horror fans turned out in solid numbers for The Possession, which scored the second-best Labor Day weekend debut of all time.
Although low on star power, trailers for The Possession were high on chilling imagery, and with a strong marketing push (and a low budget), the $21.3-million, four-day debut will guarantee a tidy hit for Lionsgate as they pushed two-week champ The Expendables 2 down to third.
Lionsgate is not known for consistently strong performances across all genres, but they certainly have a knack for properly marketing horror fare. Following immense success with the Saw franchise, they successfully launched films including The Haunting in Connecticut and The Last Exorcism (among others) over what were otherwise weak frames.
Also performing admirably since its Wednesday debut, Prohibition-era thriller Lawless with Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy made off with $15.1 million over six days. Although seemingly not as impressive compared to some of the openings we’ve seen this summer, that number puts Lawless high in the rankings for debuts among films in the “true crime” genre.
Thanks to the four-day weekend, all holdovers saw either tiny dips or jumps in their grosses which added up to the highest Labor Day weekend in three years. The Expendables 2 now sits at $68.6 million, The Bourne Legacy at $98.4 million and ParaNorman rounds out the top five at $40.3 million.
The Top 10 (Four Day)1. The Possession - $21.3M (weekend)…$21.3M (gross)
Things weren’t all rainbows and smiles over the weekend as toddler offering Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure flopped hugely taking in only $601,000 in over 2,100 theaters. That makes this gamble the worst opening ever for a movie in very wide release. If that doesn't quite sink in, let's put it this way: it sold about three tickets per showing.
In milestone news, The Avengers slipped past $1.5 billion at the global box office, and thanks to huge openings in China and Italy, The Dark Knight Rises crossed $1 billion and the final worldwide tally of its predecessor in the process.
Expect any of the minor successes of this weekend to slip away as we move into next, as thanks to no-buzz offerings, it’s almost guaranteed no movie will debut above $10 million. Leading the pack will be The Words in 2,700 theaters starring Bradley Cooper as an author struggling with plagiarism. Then, opting for a semi-wide release will be The Cold Light of Day with Bruce Willis, which lands in just 1,500 theaters.