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Weekend Box Office: The Possession Leads Weakest Box Office in Four Years

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By Chris Kavan - 09/09/12 at 10:50 PM CT

We all know that September is a typically slow month for movies, but even for a slow month this weekend was a disaster for Hollywood. No movie managed to break $10 million and the top 12 movies only brought in $51.7 million - 37% worse than any other weekend in 2012 and the lowest-grossing total since 2008, when Bangkok Dangerous led the weak charge to a $50.3 million total.

The Possession scared up another $9.5 million - a drop of 46% from its opening weekend. That drop is actually a bit better than most horror films, which typically see a 5%-60% decline week to week. So far, the film has taken in $33.3 million - just ahead of the similarly themed The Last Exorcism ($32.1 million) through the same point.

In second depression-era drama Lawless dropped 40% and took in $6 million to raise its total to $23.5 million. It's still running ahead of The Debt ($21.9 million) but behind The American ($28.1 million) for Labor Day action dramas.

Bradley Cooper had another disappointing debut following Hit and Run's $4.8 million with The Words taking third place with just $5 million. Although the film had a modest $6 million budget to begin with, considering the marketing costs, that opening still has to be seen as a pretty dismal opening. Cooper has had success in the past, and I don't think he'll have any trouble bouncing back, but it just goes to show that a big name can't help against a generic story.

The Expendables 2 took in $4.75 million in fourth place and crossed the $75 million mark in the process. It was off 47% in its fourth weekend and is looking like it's not going to be able to make it to the $100 million mark.

In fifth place The Bourne Legacy took in $4 million and crossed the $100 million mark in the process. The $103.7 million total is actually the highest-grossing film out of all the August 2012 releases. Still, that total is still the lowest-grossing out of the Bourne movies thus far, and it means the franchise could be put on hold.

The week's other new release, The Cold Light of Day, couldn't even crack the top 12 - opening down in 13th with just $1.8 million.With virtually zero marketing, this film took the same route as The Apparition (though not the same genre) as the studio chose to unceremoniously dump it and hoped something stuck. With those low expectations, it's no wonder that names like Bruce Willis and Henry Cavill couldn't overcome that kind of handicap.

The only film that could really boast any kind of good success this week was the documentary 2016: Obama's America. In 10th place with $3.28 million, the film has taken in just over $26 million and passed both An Inconvenient Truth ($24.1 million) and Sicko ($24.5 million) to become the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time behind Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119.2 million).

Next week Resident Evil: Retribution looks to be another horror success. Meanwhile, another film gets the 3D treatment with the re-release of Finding Nemo. We'll whether the box office can recover and give September some much-needed good news.

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