Record-Setting Labor Day Weekend Box Office
'Teletubbies' Movie Sets New Mark for Futility
Published: 09/02/2012, Last Updated: 09/04/2012 04:03am
It took a horror movie, Lionsgate's The Possession, to keep the Labor Day weekend box office from falling behind even last year's weak end of the summer session, but it took what could be one of the least popular movies of all time to set a record that will make this past weekend memorable. The Possession earned an estimated $17.7 million 3-day gross, which may end up as the #2 opening ever for what is typically one of the weakest frames of the year.
Lawless, the depression-era gangster film was a distant second with an estimated $9.7 million. In spite of strong performances by holdovers (with no film in the top ten dropping by more than The Expendables 2’s 34.4%), the box office for the top twelve films was up just 1% from the same frame last year when The Help repeated as box office champ with $14.4 million.
The "exorcism" subgenre has been one of the most consistent horror categories, and the Sam (Spider-Man, Evil Dead) Raimi-produced The Possession (directed by Ole Bornedal) channeled enough of The Exorcist to score the biggest success in quite a while for a horror film. Lionsgate estimates that the film could earn as much as $21.3 million for the entire 4-day holiday weekend, which would make it the second-highest grossing Labor Day opening even behind Halloween's $30.6 million. Females made up 59% of the audience with 54% of the opening weekend crowd under 25. Audiences gave The Possession a mediocre "B" CinemaScore.
Lawless, which stars Shia LaBoeuf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, and Mia Wasilkowski, earned a 65% positive rating from the critics catalogued by Rotten Tomatoes and a decent "B+" grade from opening weekend audiences. LaBoeuf saw his string of seven straight #1 opening's that started back in 2007 with Disturbia snapped.
The Expendables 2, which had dominated the box office for the past two weeks, slipped to #3, while The Bourne Legacy dropped to #4, and the stop-motion animated ParaNorman fell to fifth.
The one holdover that actually did the best was The Odd Life of Timothy Green that eased down just 15% and stayed put at number six. Right behind was The Dark Knight Rises, which slipped just 18.6%. The tea party documentary 2016 Obama's America increased its theater count by 36% to nearly 1800 screens, but it didn't get much bounce from the Republican National Convention as it slipped from 7th to 9th.
The real record setter this weekend was the Teletubbies movie, Oogieloves in the Big Balloon, which debuted in 26th place with a worst ever debut weekend average for a film in over 2000 theaters of just $207 per venue. The kid-targeted film that featured Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie cost $20 million to make and another $40 million to market. It is true that 2008's Proud American earned just $128 per venue on its opening weekend, but it was in only 750 theaters, whereas Oogieloves in the Big Balloon was in 2,160, making it a truly wide release.
Check back next week to how the Raiders of the Lost Ark re-release does in its return to the big screen.
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