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Weekend Box Office: Expendables 2 Repeats on Year's Weakest Weekend Yet

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By Chris Kavan - 08/26/12 at 10:56 PM CT

After a few weeks of pleasant, if not exactly red-hot returns, it was a bummer at the box office. The end of August is usually pretty slow for movies, but this weekend it was not just slow, it was the lowest-grossing weekend of the year - a whole 11% worse than February's previous dubious honor. None of the new releases could even crack the top five, one didn't even make the top 10 - and those that held on didn't have much to celebrate themselves.

The Expendables 2 repeated its run at the top of the charts with a $13.5 million take, off about 53% from its opening. The film has earned $52.3 million so far. The movie dropped more than the original film's 51% second-week hit and also trails the original, which had made $65.4 million in the same time frame. Chances are, this is going to have a tough time even approaching its $100 million budget, let alone repeating the mild success of the original. Still, I really consider this film a vanity project for aging action stars, so it's unknown how much grosses really count in this franchise.

The Bourne Legacy was second with $9.3 million for an $85.5 million total. It dropped about 45.5% in its third weekend and it's pretty much a lock to be the lowest-grossing film in the franchise. Like the Expendables 2, it's probably not going to make back its $125 million budget, at least no domestically.

The stop-motion animated film ParaNorman remained in third, dropping a respectable 39.3%. The film took in $8.5 million to up its total to about $28.3 million. It should easily be able to top Pirates! Band of Misfits $31 million and may even be able to close out over $50 million before it ends its run.

The Campaign also remained in fourth place, taking in $7.4 million for a total of $64.5 million. That's about right in the middle for Will Ferrell, not a failure, but certainly not a runway success either.

Rounding out the top five, The Dark Knight Rises climbed a spot from last week, taking in $7.15 million, down just over 35%. After six weeks, the film has brought in $422.12 million, good enough to move in to the 11th spot on the all-time chart. I'm still betting on it reaching the $450 million mark before it ends its run.

So what about the new films? Well, nothing good to report for any of them. Premium Rush was the best out of the three, but could only muster up $6.3 million - all the way in 7th place. There aren't a whole lot of comparisons you can make for this bike messenger action/thriller - but Man on a Ledge from earlier in the year at least hit $8 million. Chances are this isn't even going to make it to its $35 million budget.

Hit and Run, the action/comedy landed all the way in 10th place with just $4.7 million or $5.87 since its Wednesday opening. This looks to wind up as Open Road Films lowest-grossing films they've distributed - the C+ response from audiences means it will be lucky to break $10 million.

Finally, the horror film The Apparition, suffering from terrible reviews, a low theater count and nearly zero studio support, barely made an impact way down in 12th place with $2.96 million. Maybe this is one that should have gone straight to video after all.

I'll end on pretty much the only bright spot at the box office: the conservative documentary 2016: Obama's America expanded after its limited run and jumped from 13th to 8th place (up over 400%) and took in $6.2 million and has earned over $9 million since opening. It is already the highest-grossing conservative documentary and is also one of the best political documentaries and should be able to rise further, what with the upcoming Republican National Convention coming up. I may not agree with the subject matter, but there are plenty of people who hate Michael Moore as well, so it's nice to see a counter-point to the liberal documentaries, no matter my personal feelings.

With such a bummer weekend, one has to think that next week has to get better. Chances are that Lawless - featuring a non-masked and easy-to-understand Tom Hardy, along with Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain and Gary Oldman - will be able to top the box office. That kind of cast should equal some hefty numbers - at least one can hope. With The Apparition utterly failing, another horror film, The Possession, looks to do much better. At least this one has some kind of marketing presence, but it could still be a tough sell.

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