Lionsgate's The Possession easily led the way over the Labor Day holiday weekend with a four-day start of $21.08 million. The PG-13 horror film produced by Sam Raimi outpaced mass expectations, which had been scaled back a bit due in part to the soft overall nature of the box office in recent weeks. The Possession was no doubt helped by the overall lack of horror films this summer, as well as Warner's decision to only go semi-wide with The Apparition last week. The Possession opened nearly on par with the $21.72 million four-day start of The Last Exorcism (released in August of 2010 by Lionsgate), which didn't have the added advantage of opening over Labor Day weekend.
Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Possession delivered the second largest four-day opening weekend performance ever over Labor Day weekend, behind only the $30.59 million four-day debut of 2007's Halloween. Since Labor Day weekend releases are typically very front-loaded, it was important for The Possession to get off to a good start this weekend. The Possession received a B rating on CinemaScore (relatively encouraging for a horror film), but will face competition from both Sony's Resident Evil: Retribution and Relativity's House at the End of the Street in the near future.
Lawless debuted in a distant second with a four-day take of $12.87 million. Since its launch on Wednesday, the Weinstein Company acquisition starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy has grossed $15.01 million in six days. That performance is in line with pre-release expectations. Lawless opened a tad higher than the $14.75 million six-day start of The Debt, which was released on the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend last year and grossed $12.85 million over the holiday weekend itself. The Debt was slightly more back-loaded towards the holiday weekend than Lawless was, though Lawless won't have a film the size of Contagion to deal with in its second week of release either when it comes to potential holding power. Lawless received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.
Action sequels The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy claimed third and fourth place with respective four-day grosses of $11.46 million and $9.31 million. Lionsgate's The Expendables 2 was down 15 percent from last weekend's three day frame, while Universal's The Bourne Legacy was unchanged compared to last weekend's performance. The Bourne Legacy has grossed $9831 million through 25 days and appears to be headed for a final domestic gross in the neighborhood of $110 million. The Expendables 2 has grossed $68.81 million in 18 days and is on course to finish its domestic run in the area of $80 million.
Family options ParaNorman and The Odd Life of Timothy Green finished in fifth and sixth place respectively. Focus' ParaNorman was up 4 percent over last weekend to gross $8.97 million. Timothy Green held up stronger, as it was up 20 percent over last weekend to gross $8.56 million. To date, ParaNorman has grossed $40.45 million in 18 days, while Timothy Green has grossed $38.44 million in 20 days.
Fellow family film The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure was simply unable to compete this weekend. The self-distributed film from Kenn Viselman Presents only grossed $610,056 over the four-day frame and managed just $835,644 in its first six days of release. With an anemic four-day per-location average of $282 and a relatively large marketing spend for a film of its size, the opening weekend performance for The Oogieloves is no doubt one of the poorest ever for a wide release.
In much better box office news, The Dark Knight Rises surpassed the $1 billion worldwide mark this weekend, while Marvel's The Avengers surpassed the $1.5 billion worldwide mark. Domestically, Warner's The Dark Knight Rises placed in seventh with a four-day take of $7.997 million. That was up 11 percent from last weekend and brings the film's domestic total to $433.31 million. Meanwhile, after going back into wide release this weekend, The Avengers grossed $2.47 million over the four-day frame. The mighty ensemble superhero film from Disney has grossed $620.32 million to date domestically.
After a headline-making expansion last weekend, 2016: Obama's America didn't have quite the same impact at the box office upon expanding into additional locations this weekend. With that said, the anti-Obama documentary from Rocky Mountain Pictures was still up 15 percent over last weekend with an eighth place four-day take of $7.52 million. In the bigger picture 2016: Obama's America continues to perform well for a political documentary, as the low-budget film has grossed $20.69 million to date.