Box Office Report (9.3.2012)

After being left on the Lionsgate shelves for a fair amount of time, The Possession finally got its opportunity to play at the multiplex and won the final weekend at the box office, earning an estimated $17.2 million, wrapping up an interesting 2012 summer box office season.  Outpacing the Prohibition-era crime drama LawlessThe Possession was the second consecutive teen-oriented horror film to not screen for critics, following last week’s virtually ignored The Apparition.  However, unlike The Apparition, audiences were much interested in being possessed it seems.  2016: Obama’s America attempted to build on its big numbers last weekend on the back of the Republican National Convention, and this week also witnessed an opening of historic proportions.  Believe me when I say, it is historic for all the wrong reasons.

Check out the breakdown after the cut!  Note:  These figures are Friday-Sunday estimates, as the Labor Day weekend box office totals will not be actualized until Tuesday afternoon.

The Possession, as mentioned above finished in first place with $17.2 million estimated, already making the Lionsgate film profitable with its reported $14 million budget.  Shot in early 2011 and originally titled Dibbuk Box, the film languished for awhile, getting bounced around for a number of different reasons.  It seems that although critics were sour on the film by and large, audiences were taken by it, and the numbers improved through the weekend.  People like being scared and The Possession packs some creepy imagery, intense chills, and centers on a recent eBay-related story that may have played fresh in people’s minds.  Following the 2-week run at the top for The Expendables 2, this is the third consecutive week Lionsgate has (ahem) possessed the #1 spot domestically.

John Hillcoat’s Lawless tried to get a jump on the competition, opening on Wednesday, but only scored $2.2 million in its two-day headstart on the competition.  The 1920s and 1930s crime drama received mostly good reviews and features a stellar cast – Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, and Mia Wasikowska, but failed to connect the way The Weinstein Company had hoped. 

Much of the rest of the holdovers did exactly that – they held over a lot of their previous weekend audience.  The Odd Life Of Timothy Green added 37 theaters and slid just 15%, raising its 19-day sum to $35.9 million.  Hope Springs continued to perform well, adding 39 theaters and sliding just 17% in its 4th weekend.  Although Sony was optimistic, Hope Springs is now north of $52 million in its domestic haul, a fact that has been a tremendous surprise for the project.

2016: Obama’s America took the biggest leap of the weekend, not including Disney/Buena Vista releases (see below), adding 656 more theaters, which placed the documentary at a multiplex in every major locale.  Surprisingly, the film saw its first decline in business since it opened 8 weekends ago.  Dipping 21%, the film banked approximately $5.1 million and has amassed $18.2 million in estimated receipts.  Dinesh D’Souza’s film is now the 5th biggest grossing political documentary of all time and 11th biggest grossing documentary of all time, moving past Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story on the political list and leapfrogging both Madonna: Truth Or Dare and Disney’s African Cats to reach its new heights on the overall tally.

Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure.

Not only is Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure one of the strangest films ever brought to a wide 2,000-plus screen release, but in a matter of just five days, the film has become an industry joke and has now become the leader in the clubhouse for the worst openings all-time for films earning a wide release.

Conceived by Kenn Viselman, the man who brought Thomas The Tank Engine and Teletubbies to North American audiences, Oogieloves were completely new creations and unknown to the general public.  Without a television show or any sort of established brand for anyone to latch on to, the film had one of the worst pre-release marketing campaigns ever.  From its baffling trailer, featuring a cast of stars whose glory days had long since passed them by (Christopher Lloyd!  Chazz Palmintieri?!  Cary Elwes !!?!  Toni Braxton??!?), clearly Kenn Viselman’s head was caught in a weird tunnelvision of his own ego and prior successes.

Per a fascinating interview with the apparently completely clueless Viselman in The Hollywood Reporter, this concept originated from Viselman clashing with the creator of Teletubbies who blocked his efforts to bring Teletubbies to the big screen.  Viselman reportedly went to a screening of a Tyler Perry film, saw how the audiences interacted with the film, and decided he would create an interactive, song-and-dance experience for families.  Plus, a friend told him about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so you know, there’s that.

While critics that presumably paid to see the film, shockingly not screened for critics ahead of time, have registered about a 33% or so on Rotten Tomatoes, the film opened with an average per screen gross of $47.  For the weekend, the film grossed just $448k, besting (?) the worst wide-release opening ever, now formerly held by the animated debacle Delgo, which opened on 2,160 screens and grossed a mere$512k in 2008.  Box Office Mojo places this in its proper perspective:

“…if each location played Oogieloves five times a day on one screen at an average ticket price of $7, that would translate to fewer than two people per showing.”

Lastly, the film was the return to theatrical distribution for Romar Entertainment, who last delivered Uwe Boll’s BloodRayne in 2006.  Face-meet-palm.

Congratulations!

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises surpassed its predecessor The Dark Knight and became just the 13th film to eclipse $1 billion in worldwide box office grosses.  In doing so, The Dark Knight Rises, along with The Dark Knight, joined Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the only films from the same series to reach this incredible success.  

Elsewhere, Buena Vista re-released The Avengers and Brave into more than 1,700 theaters each, for one last push at the end of the summer.  While the weekend numbers were less than expected, Avengers cemented third place on the all-time worldwide box office rankings, finishing up the summer with a staggering $1.5 billion in ticket sales.

For Pixar, Disney, and Buena Vista, the success of Brave is a sigh of relief for all involved and the film will earn approximately $230-$235 million domestic and has already garnered $470 million in worldwide box office returns.  When the post-mortem is written on the 2012 box office, coming from me later this week, Disney will reflect on an amazing and much-needed summer that reversed their fortunes and restored consumer confidence.

Here are the weekend’s 10 most attended films (with dollar amounts in millions):

FILM WKND TOTAL % +/- STUDIO
THE POSSESSION
$17.2 $17.2 NEW Lionsgate
LAWLESS $9.7 $11.8 NEW Weinstein Co.
EXPENDABLES 2
$8.8 $66.2 -34.4 Lionsgate
BOURNE LEGACY $7.2 $96.2 -22.4 Universal
PARANORMAN $6.6 $38.0 -24.2 Focus
ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN $6.1 $35.9 -15.0 Buena Vista
DARK KNIGHT RISES
$5.9 $431.2 -18.6 Warner Bros.
CAMPAIGN $5.4 $73.0 -27.1 Warner Bros.
2016: OBAMA’S AMERICA
$5.1 $18.2 -21.6 Rocky Mountain
HOPE SPRINGS
$4.7 $52.1 -17.9 Sony
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