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Box office report: 'The Possession' leads the worst weekend in over a decade

Chances are, you weren’t at the movies this weekend. Not a single film at the box office reached $10 million. Call it the curse of The Oogieloves.

The Top 12 films grossed a depressingly low $51.9 million — the worst Top 12 total since Sept. 5-7, 2008, when Nicolas Cage flop Bangkok Dangerous led the chart with $7.7 million and the Top 12 films earned $50.3 million.

Even more distressingly, this weekend marked the lowest cumulative ticket sales in over a decade. The last frame to notch worse overall ticket sales was Sept. 21-23, 2001 — two weekends after the 9/11 attacks — when only one new wide release entered theaters: Mariah Carey’s infamous bomb Glitter. (Keep in mind, as final weekend results come in on Monday, things could change. Stay tuned.)

Lionsgate’s $14 million horror entry The Possession once again topped the chart with $9.5 million. The film, which earned a “B” CinemaScore grade last week, enjoyed a better than expected hold (it dropped 46 percent) — especially since its debut results were inflated by it bowing on a holiday weekend. After ten days, The Possession has earned $33.3 million, and by the end of its run, it may possess close to $50 million total. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Possession' tops Friday with $2.9 million on an utterly awful weekend

For the second weekend in a row, Lionsgate’s $14 million horror film The Possession will top the box office.

That’s not necessarily a testament to the film’s quality, though — it’s a sign that moviegoers have been trained to avoid the theater in early September, and that this weekend’s newcomers are true box office misfires. In fact, this weekend will likely be the first time in more than a decade (since Sept. 21-23, 2001, when Hardball topped the chart) that the Top 12 movies didn’t cumulatively earn at least $50 million. Heck, they’ll be lucky to make $40 million!

The Possession earned $2.9 million on Friday — a healthy (for a horror movie) drop of 52 percent from its opening Friday. The Possession may scare up about $9 million by Sunday, easily giving it a second weekend in first place and a running total of $32.8 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Expendables 2' shoots to the top with $28.8 million, but newcomers don't 'Sparkle'

Four weeks after the shootings in Aurora, Colo., the box office remains in a relative slump — despite performing over 20 percent better than the same weekends in 2011 and 2010.

According to industry consulting firm Screen Engine, 17 percent of moviegoers are still reluctant to head to the theater following the shooting. While that number has dropped from the 21 percent who claimed they were reluctant one week after the shooting, it’s still telling — and discouraging — for Hollywood. Fortunately, moviegoers have a lot of options to choose from. When the top seven movies at the box office all earn over $10 million, it’s clear that the box office isn’t in totally dire straits, but it doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders.

Sylvester Stallone and his weathered crew of grizzly action stars (and fresh-faced Liam Hemsworth) pushed their explosive sequel The Expendables 2 to a $28.8 million debut, 17 percent lower than the $34.8 million bow of 2010’s original Expendables. The number one debut marks the first time pop culture icon Chuck Norris has ever topped the box office. There really is nothing he can’t do.


Box office update: 'Expendables 2' blasts off with $10.5M Friday; 'Dark Knight Rises' passes $400M

Welcome back, boys.

Sylvester Stallone and his motley crew of The Expendables 2 co-stars handily blazed to the top of the box office on Friday, shooting up $10.5 million, which should yield a final weekend gross in the $27 million range.

While the grizzled action heroes will nab the number one spot on the chart this weekend, Expendables 2 is already proving weaker — despite more muscle — than its 2010 predecessor, which grossed $13.3 million on its opening day (21% higher than Expendables 2) on the way to a $34.3 million weekend.


Box office preview: 'Expendables 2' gunning for top spot against 'Sparkle', 'Timothy Green', 'ParaNorman'

Two years ago, Sylvester Stallone assembled a leathery crew of aging musclebound action stars for The Expendables, and the $80 million in-your-face action film went on to be a hit, grossing $103.1 million domestically and an explosive $274.5 million worldwide.

For these actors, a sequel wasn’t just an enticing prospect, it was an inevitable one.

Thus, we now have The Expendables 2, which is facing off this weekend against three titles more geared toward families: Paranorman, Sparkle, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. How will these four titles fare at the box office?

Read on for my weekend box office predictions:

1. The Expendables 2 – $38 million
All the guys are back for Expendables 2 — Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, and Ah-nold — but there are a few fresh faces, too. Namely, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and token “let’s bring in the young crowd” actor Liam Hemsworth.

The kitsch factor of seeing all these grizzled action stars in one place is still the franchise’s selling point, and according to’s Shawn Robbins, social media activity for the sequel has been substantially stronger than its predecessor, which opened with $34.8 million in August 2010. Adult men will make up the vast majority of the audience and likely drive Expendables 2, which is playing in 3,316 theaters, to about $38 million in its first frame. Lionsgate reportedly acquired the $90 million film from Nu Image for $35 million.

2. Sparkle – $18 million
Though Jordin Sparks is making her acting debut, it is Whitney Houston’s final onscreen performance that will lure in curious moviegoers to see ScreenGems’ 1960s musical family drama Sparkle this weekend. The film, which cost a slim $14 million to make, is getting a narrow release in 2,244 theaters — a common tactic for a movie targeting a predominantly African-American audience (Think Like A Man, another ScreenGems film, started on 2,052 theaters earlier this year) — which should yield a strong per-theater average.

Although tracking and studio expectations have the film earning about $14-15 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, as Tyler Perry’s titles have proved, movies geared towards an African-American female audience have often been underestimated by industry watchers; Sparkle could be bigger than most expect. I’m going with a rather bullish (feel free to chide me if I’m wrong on Sunday!) $18 million.

3. The Bourne Legacy – $17 million
Last week’s chart topper is facing direct competition from The Expendables 2, plus a lukewarm “B” CinemaScore grade. It may tumble 55 percent to $17 million, which would lift its ten-day total to about $70 million.

4. ParaNorman – $15 million
Focus Features scored with 2009’s Coraline, the dark 3-D animation that quietly earned $75.3 million during its domestic run. The same filmmaking team came together for ParaNorman, another ghoulish take on typically sunny animated fare. ParaNorman won’t have the benefit of the 3-D craze, which really sparked in 2009, on its side the way Coraline did, but it will still earn some cash due to a big 3,429 theater count. Families are spread thin between Odd Life and Sparkle, but ParaNorman, which likely cost somewhere in the $60 million range (the reported budget of Coraline) may scare up $15 million.

5. The Odd Life of Timothy Green – $14 million
The Disney feature, which stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton and was made for just under $25 million, looked like it would become a typical August misfire a few weeks ago, but a hard marketing push has raised awareness for the whimsical tale considerable, and its prospects seem much rosier.

In its Wednesday debut, the film earned $2.3 million, the same number that Hope Springs started with on Wednesday last week before pulling $14.6 million over the weekend. Hope Springs carried a much older audience that waited until the weekend to hit the theater, which resulted in the big boost, but Odd Life may be a bit smaller. Still, thanks to strong word-of-mouth from its “A-” CinemaScore grade, Timothy Green, playing in 2,598 theaters, may blossom to $14 million.

Check EW all weekend long to see how The Expendables 2, Sparkle, ParaNorman, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green fare, and if you want up-to-the-minute box office updates, follow me on Twitter.

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