With both new wide releases severely struggling to find their target demographics, horror-thriller "The Possession" hauled in $9.5 million and easily topped the box office charts for the second consecutive weekend. The widest new release of the weekend, drama "The Words" managed just $5 million on a feeble per theater average of less than $2,000, as it struggled to appeal to its intended adult audience. Meanwhile, action-thriller "The Cold Light of the Day" posted even worse opening figures, racking up just $1.8 million in what turned out to be easily the slowest weekend since September of 2001.
Despite being the type of movie that normally starts in a limited release, drama "The Words" hit 2,801 theaters over the weekend, though a complete lack of buzz and poor reviews made it a difficult sell for distributor CBS Films. With only $5 million in opening revenue, "The Words" finished the weekend as one of the worst wide releases of the year and doesn't seem to be in position to recover in the coming weekends.
After a very weak release schedule at the end of August and beginning of September, "The Words" will soon have to compete with a slew of adult-geared dramas, including director Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," Clint Eastwood-starring "Trouble with the Curve" and sci-fi thriller "Looper." Look for "The Words" to see a significant slide next weekend and to dip well out of the top 10 by its third weekend in theaters.
But even though "The Words" struggled to find its audience, it was far from the slowest opening of the weekend. Action-thriller "The Cold Light of the Day" earned just $1,191 per venue, making it one of the worst wide releases in the last few years. Starring Henry Cavill and Bruce Willis, "The Cold Light of the Day" wasn't even supposed to get a major release until recently, leading to a minimal marketing effort from Summit that ended up completely sinking its opening weekend. "The Cold Light of the Day" should lose significant screenings by next weekend and will be out of theaters very shortly.
Also hitting theaters this weekend was a special edition of Steven Spielberg's action classic "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Reaching just 267 IMAX theaters, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" managed a so-so $1.73 million, which wasn't quite enough to slip into the box office top 10. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" will hang around theaters for a few more weekends, though its commercial impact should be fairly limited.
While new releases had major issues appealing to target audience members, older releases did relatively well. Low-budget horror-thriller "The Possession" slipped 46.4% from its opening totals and remained far and away the top overall box office draw, earning a studio estimated $9.5 million. With a production budget of only $14 million, "The Possession" has now topped the charts for two consecutive weekends and put together an impressive 10-day total of $33 million, making it one of the top low-budget releases of the year so far.
After a dismal stretch for the box office, next weekend's release schedule should help pick up the pace. "Resident Evil: Retribution" is in good position to take over the top box office slot and family audiences will likely turn to a 3D version of Pixar's immensely popular "Finding Nemo," one of the animation studio's most commercially and critically successful films. Director Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" will also get an extremely limited release, leading to a wide expansion to most theaters the following weekend. Also hitting theaters later in the month will be "Trouble with the Curve," a baseball drama starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams.
Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 9/7/12 - 9/9/12 (in millions), [RTT Prediction]:
1. The Possession (Lionsgate): $9.50 [$8.5]
2. Lawless (Weinstein): $6 [$5.5]
3. The Words (CBS Films): $5 [$8.6]
4. The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate): $4.75 [$4.9]
5. The Bourne Legacy (Universal): $4 [$3.8]
6. ParaNorman (Focus): $3.83 [$3.8]
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Disney): $3.65 [$3.1]
8. The Campaign (Warner Brothers): $3.53 [$3.2]
9. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brother): $3.29 [$3.7]
10. 2016 Obama's America (Rocky Mountain): $3.28 [N/A]
by RTT Staff Writer
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