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‘Possession’ Is Top Weekend Film on Sales of $9.5 Million

Published: September 10, 2012 | 6:07 am
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The horror tale “The Possession” led U.S. and Canadian ticket sales for a second straight weekend, taking in an estimated $9.5 million for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) in one of the lowest three-day movie sales periods in a decade.

The film bested two newcomers. “The Words” was third with $5 million and “The Cold Light of Day” opened in a distant 13th place with sales of $1.8 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said in an e-mailed statement. Among returning films, “Lawless” collected $6 million in its second week of release to come in second place.

Three-day weekend revenue for the top 12 films slipped 20 percent to $52 million from the year-earlier period, and declined 39 percent from the $85.5 million recorded last week, Hollywood.com said. The sales of all films offered this week is an estimated $67 million, almost 18 percent lower than the same period in 2011.

“It was the lowest grossing weekend of the year and one of the lowest of the decade,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box-Office, said in an e-mail. “The post-Labor Day weekend is always slow, but with no strong newcomer and little holdover strength as evidenced by the first place movie only earning $9.5 million, the results were less than spectacular.”

“The Possession,” made for about $14 million, has generated $33.4 million since it opened on Aug. 31, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. Sam Raimi, who directed three “Spider-Man” movies and several horror pictures, is the producer.

New Wrinkle

The film adds a new wrinkle to well-trod horror genre by drawing on Jewish folklore for the malevolent spirit that inhabits the body of a young girl. The son of a Hasidic rabbi takes on the task of freeing the child from the spirit, known as a dybbuk. The movie features Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick and hip hop artist Matisyahu as the exorcist.

The Prohibition-era crime story “Lawless,” from Weinstein Co., features Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jessica Chastain, and is based on the true story of the Bondurant brothers, three Virginia moonshiners who smuggled whiskey and battled lawmen during the Great Depression. It’s taken from the book “The Wettest County in the World” and has pulled in $23.5 in the two weeks since its debut.

New Releases

“The Words,” from CBS Films, stars Bradley Cooper as an author who becomes famous after stealing another writer’s work. His new life of celebrity unravels after the real author confronts him. The film also features Jeremy Irons and Zoe Saldana.

In “The Cold Light of Day,” Henry Cavill stars as an American tourist whose family is kidnapped by intelligence agents during a vacation in Spain. Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver co-star. The film, from Lions Gate Entertainment’s Summit unit, opened in April in Europe and parts of the Middle East.

Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables 2,” also from Lions Gate, had sales of $4.8 million to finish in fourth place in its fourth week of release. The picture, a follow-up to the 2010 hit, had taken in $75.4 million since Aug. 17.

Stallone and his team of mercenaries in the film seek revenge for the murder of one of their comrades. The picture features an all-star list of action heroes including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris.

“The Bourne Legacy,” from Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures, was fifth with sales of $4 million. The film, the fourth in the Bourne saga, begins a new storyline without the namesake character of the first three films or actor Matt Damon. Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner stars as super-soldier Aaron Cross. Sales since its release five weeks ago total $103.7 million.

Weekend Sales

“ParaNorman,” a 3-D animated children’s film from Laika Entertainment and Universal’s Focus Features, was sixth with revenue of $3.8 million. The PG-rated comedy-thriller follows a misunderstood boy who can speak to the dead. Kodi Smit-McPhee provides the voice of Norman. Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse co-star.

Domestic film sales this year have risen 3.3 percent to $7.7 billion, with attendance up 2.1 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Sept. 7-8 and estimates for yesterday.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
1 THE POSSESSION        $9.5   2,834   $3,352   -46   $33.3   2
2 LAWLESS                6.0   3,138    1,913   -40    23.5   2
3 THE WORDS              5.0   2,801    1,785   --      5.0   1
4 THE EXPENDABLES 2      4.8   3,260    1,457   -47    75.4   4
5 THE BOURNE LEGACY      4.0   2,766    1,460   -44   103.7   5
6 PARANORMAN             3.8   2,856    1,341   -42    45.1   4
7 ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY    3.7   2,717    1,343   -42    43.0   4
8 THE CAMPAIGN           3.5   2,542    1,389   -38    79.5   5
9 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES  3.29  1,987    1,653   -46   437.8   8
10 2016 OBAMA’S AMERICA  3.28  2,017    1,627   -41    26.1   9
11 HOPE SPRINGS          2.8   2,437    1,149   -40    57.5   5
12 PREMIUM RUSH          2.3   2,182    1,054   -42    16.7   3

Top 12 Films Grosses:

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
     $51.9         $65.0        -20

Year-to-date Revenue:

     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $7,695.2      $7,450.2       +3

Year-to-date Attendance:         +2%


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