By Todd Cunningham
How bad a weekend was it at the box office? Really bad -- as in the lowest since the week after 9/11, And so bad, the 31-year-old "Raiders of the Lost Ark" outperformed everything else in wide release.
With about $68 million in grosses, the weekend is the weakest since the Sept. 21-23 weekend in 2001, when the total was just under $59.7 million. The weekend's No 1 film, "Possession," took in just $9.7 million over the three days, so it's the first time since 2008 that no film cracked the $10 million mark.
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And the best-performing movie -- at least in terms of per-screen average -- was 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It took in $1.7 million from 267 Imax screens, a $6,460 per-screen average. Paramount timed the one-week limited re-release to coincide with the debut of its "Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures" on Blu-ray on Sept. 18.
The weekend's No. 2 film, "Lawless," in its second week, finished well behind with $6 million, and newcomer "The Words" was third at $5 million. The week's only other wide opener, Summit Entertainment's "The Cold Light of Day," managed just $1.8 million.
Blame it on football season and back-to-school preparations or unappealing
fare, but whatever the reason the box office clearly suffered. Even the film
industry's attention was focused elsewhere, with many of the town's execs at the
Toronto International Film Festival or the Venice Film Festival. The festival
crowds didn't miss much at home.
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Horrormeister Sam Raimi produced the PG-13-rated "Possession," which averaged $3,352 on its 2,834 screens, according to the studio. Ole Bornedal ("Nightwatch") directed Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Matisyahu.
The victory by "Possession" makes it four straight weeks that Lionsgate has had the nation's No. 1 film, coming on the heels of back-to-back wins by stablemate "Expendables 2." The overall domestic gross for "Possession," which was produced for less than $15 million, now stands at $33 million.
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In one of the weekend's few positive developments, the documentary "2016: Obama's America" has now taken in $26 million in its ninth week. That makes it the second-highest grossing documentary ever passing "Bowling for Columbine," "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Sicko" ($24.5 million). It did it while posting a roughly 40 percent drop from last week--taking in just $3.3 million -- after Rocky Mountain Pictures expanded it to 2,017 locations from last week's 1,747. It averaaged $1,627 per screen.
Michael Moore's 2004 film "Farenheit 9/11," which took in $119 million domestically and $222 million at the worldwide box office, is No. 1.
In its fourth week, "Expendables 2" crossed $75 million in overall grosses with an estimated $4.7 million for the three days.
The Weinstein Company's R-rated "Lawless" was on 2,888 screens and averaged $1,860. The period crime drama stars Shia LeBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain star under the direction of John Hillcoat ("The Road"). Its overall domestic gross is $23 million.
"The Words," averaged $1,767 on its 2,801 screens in its debut. CBS Films targeted older females with its marketing and it worked; the audience was 58 percent women and 78 percent was over 25. Those numbers, along with its "B" CinemaScore, have CBS optimistic that it will do steady business in the weeks ahead.
Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde star in the PG-13 tale of a writer who, at the peak of his success, discovers the price he must pay for stealing another's work The film was independently produced for $6 million (shot over 25 days in Montreal) and acquired by CBS for $2 million at Sundance earlier this year.
In its fifth week, Universal's "The Bourne Legacy" raised its overall gross to $103 million, taking in $4 million.
Here are the top 10 movies at the box
"The Words," $5M
"Expendables 2," $4.7M
"Bourne Legacy," $4M
"The Odd Life of Timothy Green," $3.6
"The Campaign," $3.5M
"Dark Knight Rises," $3.2M
"2016: Obama's America," $3.2M