Labor Day weekend box office verdict: Scary
Sept. 3, '12, update: Labor Day is generally a slow holiday at the North American box office. Why? Good question. Perhaps that's merely a Hollywood tradition – as the tail end of the movie summer season, Labor Day weekend has usually been a dumping ground for B (horror) movies and A movies gone awry, so why attempt something different? Or perhaps there's indeed some natural (or otherworldly) phenomenon that prevents Americans and Canadians from going to movie theaters in late August / early September.
So, why was this particular Labor Day weekend scary? Well, the no. 1 movie at the domestic box office was/is The Possession, a horror movie purportedly based on a true story about demons frightening humans. (Now, considering how devilishly vicious human beings can be, it's time for someone to make a movie about humans frightening demons.)
The Possession box office: Second best Labor Day weekend ever?
Providing Lionsgate with its third-in-a-row first slot, The Possession raked in a better-than-expected $21.3 million over the four-day weekend (Aug 31-Sept. 3) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Not adjusted for inflation,the horror flick had / is having the second-best Labor Day weekend ever, trailing only Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, which grossed $30.59 million in 2007. In the real world – where The Inflation Demon actually exists – The Possession is no. 5 on the Box Office Mojo chart, behind the aforementioned Halloween, Transporter 2, Jeepers Creepers 2, and Jeepers Creepers.
The Possession cast
Co-produced by Spider-Man's Sam Raimi, The Possession cost a reported $14 million, not including marketing / distribution expenses. The cast includes Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Jay Brazeau, Madison Davenport, Matisyahu, Grant Show, and Rob LaBelle. Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch, Deliver Us from Evil) directed.
Labor Day weekend box office runners-up
In case you're wondering, Lionsgate previous box office winner was The Expendables 2, featuring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and The Hunger Games' Liam Hemsworth. This weekend, the Stallone actioner was no. 3, with $11.2 million, trailing John Hillcoat's period bootlegging drama Lawless' $13 million. Distributed by The Weinstein Company, which acquired the movie at the Cannes Film Festival, Lawless features Transformers movies' Shia LaBeouf and The Dark Knight Rises' Tom Hardy, in addition to Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Guy Pearce.
The Possession photo: Lionsgate.
The Avengers box office: Movie rerelease is a major disappointment
The Avengers is by far the biggest domestic and worldwide box office hit of 2012. To date, the Disney / Marvel actioner has grossed an astounding (estimated) $619.54 million in North America, plus (also estimated) $882.3 million overseas for a grand total of $1.501 billion. However, this weekend's expansion to 1,705 North American locations was, to put it mildly, a major disappointment. At no. 14 on the U.S. and Canada box office chart, The Avengers took in $1.69 million, averaging an embarrassing $994 per theater according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. (Image: Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America The Avengers.)
On the positive side, Disney clearly wanted their Marvel blockbuster to pass the $1.5 billion milestone worldwide. That they have achieved. The Avengers comes out on DVD/Blu-ray in North America on Sept. 25.
Avatar: Another disappointing 3D rerelease
The Avengers' dismal rerelease performance, I should add, is nothing new. Two years ago, 20th Century Fox rereleased in late summer another recent 3D blockbuster, James Cameron's Avatar. Earlier that year, Cameron's sci-fier had become a cultural and financial phenomenon, officially (not adjusted for inflation / currency exchange rates) surpassing Cameron's own Titanic as the biggest worldwide blockbuster ever. The North American rerelease, however, added a paltry $10.74 million to the film's domestic box office take.
The Avengers movie cast
Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers stars Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner. The Avengers is currently the third movie on the all-time worldwide box office chart (once again, not adjusted for inflation / currency exchange rates), behind Avatar ($2.78 billion), which stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Zoe Saldana, and Titanic ($2.18 billion), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, and veteran Gloria Stuart (The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House).
Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America The Avengers movie picture: Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios.