SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: This is traditionally such a terrible box office Friday through Sunday that Hollywood skeds only low-profile movies. It’s official: the fall film season started with a whimper. It’s the worst grossing weekend of the year and this is also the worst grossing weekend in years. It looks like the entire North American box office might barely add up to $70 million, which is down 13% from last year. The weekend of September 5, 2008 was the last time no films grossed over $10 million. Ouch!
2016 Obama’s America grossed $26.1M by end of today (give or take some bucks) and passed 4 of Michael Moore’s five political documentaries to become the #2 all-time biggest. Only Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, his highly critical examination of the first term of President George W Bush, retains the #1 position with $119.1M. It’s extremely unlikely that 2016 Obama’s America will make even half that. But it now has made more money (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices) than Moore’s Sicko (2007 – $24.5M), Oscar-winner Bowling For Columbine (2002 – $21.5M), and Capitalism: A Love Story (2009 – $14.3M).
Lionsgate has the #1 movie for the 4th weekend in a row – The Possession with an asterisk because its $9.3M grosses are so low.
Among wider release newcomers, CBS Films’ Sundance pickup The Words (2,801 theaters) came behind #2 Lawless from The Weinstein Co and #3 The Expendables 2 from Millenium/Lionsgate with only $4.7M for the weekend. That’s less than the studio’s very modest expectations and tracking for this drama masquerading as an art house pic. It cost only $6M to make (the whole production was shot in 25 days in Montreal), and CBS Films spent just $2M for U.S. only for this pic written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. Meanwhile Hollywood has to start asking itself whether one-time People Sexiest Man Alive, Bradley Cooper, really is a draw for female moviegoers. (I think he does better in bromance movies like The Hangover and Limitless and The A Team. And he shows his acting chops in the upcoming The Place Beyond The Pines and Silver Linings Playbook.) CBS Films spent a very conservative amount to market The Words to only women, and particularly older women. The audience turned out be 58% female, with 78% aged 25+. The film received a ‘B’ Cinemascore. The classy but complex story-within-story-within-story was hard to boil down. But the TV ads focusing on Cooper and Jeremy Irons and barely Zoe Saldana made the storyline seem run-of-the-mill. Why pick this horrid release date? “Because we had limited competition for older females who, though distracted by back to school etc, have no movie targeted at them for several weeks.”
By the way, Warner Bros tells me that The Campaign has been helped to stay in the Top 10 by the recent Republican and Democratic nationa conventions. Clearly moviegoers are starved for comedy.
And the other newcomer, Summit Entertainment’s Bruce Willis-Henry Cavill kidnapping thriller The Cold Light Of Day (1,511 theaters) couldn’t even crack $2M or the Top 10. Not even studio execs expected it to do anything but tank. Talk about a minimal marketing effort: I don’t even recall seeing a single ad for what’s yet another Cavill underwhelmer leading up to Man Of Steel. Summit, now part of Lionsgate, moved around the release date after an initial international run in select territories where it also underperformed. Summit claims it had very limited exposure due to: a 50% equity partner, international licensing andpresale agreements, a comparatively low P&A spend, and Spanish production subsidies. Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri from an original script written by Scott Wiper and John Petro, it was produced by Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans.
That 267-venue IMAX exclusive run of Paramount’s Raiders Of The Lost Ark was the #2 matinee Friday and made $1.6M by end of Sunday. Not bad for the re-release of a 30-year-old movie. It’s part of the promotional push for the September 18th Blu-ray release of Steven Spielberg’s and George Lucas’ Indiana Jones: The Complete Collection. (Ah, the rich get richer.) I’m surprised the idiocy of The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull‘s ending didn’t sour filmgoers on the entire Indiana Jones franchise.
Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:
1. The Possession (Lionsgate) Week 2 [2,834 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.6M, Weekend $9.3M (-47%), Cume $33.1M
2. Lawless (Weinstein Co) Week 2 [3,138 Runs] R
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $5.9M (-40%), Cume $23.5M
3 The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate) Week 4 [3,260 Runs] R
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $4.9M, Cume $75.6M
2. The Words (CBS Films) New [2,801 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $4.7M
5. ParaNorman (Focus Features) Week 4 [2,856 Runs] PG
Friday $838K, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $4.2M, Cume $45.4M
6. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 5 [2,766 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $103.6M
7. Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 4 [2,717 Runs) PG
Friday $872K, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $3.6M, Cume $43.0M
8. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,542 Runs] R
Friday $990K, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $3.3M, Cume $79.3M
9. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mtn) Week 9 [2,017 Runs] PG
Friday $1.0M, Saturday $1.4M, Weekend $3.3M, Cume $26.1M
10. Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 8 [1,987 Runs] PG13
Friday $853K, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $3.2M, Cume $437.7M
13. Cold Light Of Day (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [1,511 Runs] PG13
Friday $637K, Saturday $825K, Weekend $1.8M
14. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (Paramount) NEW [267 IMAX] PG
Friday $434K, Saturday $770K, Weekend $1.6, Cume $246.3M