Theater Owners Ask "Where Did Everybody Go?"
In the third-worst weekend at the box office since 2000, not a single film managed to crack the $10-million mark, according to studio estimates released on Sunday. With the top 12 films together grossing only an estimated $51.93 million, only the comparable weekend in 2008 and the weekend of Sept. 21-23 in 2001 produced lower amounts, $43.5 million in 2001 and $50.26 million in 2008. (In 2000 the total for the top 12 on the weekend following Labor Day was $45.08 million, but the average price of a theater ticket back then was $5.39 versus $7.93 as of 2011.) Actual attendance was likely the worst in modern history. The top film at the box office this weekend was Lionsgate's horror flick The Possession with an estimated $9.5 million, keeping it well ahead of the competition for the second week in a row. Lawless finished in second place with just $6 million. Two new films opened poorly. The Words placed third with $5 million and The Cold Light of Day finished out of the running with just $1.8 million. Some IMAX theaters were not deserted, however. The restored 1981 classic Raiders of the Lost Ark , playing on 267 IMAX screens for one week only in advance of its re-release on home video on Sept. 18, took in $1.7 million -- an average of $6,460 per theater. By contrast, The Possession averaged $3,352 per theater.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. The Possession, $9.5 million; 2. Lawless , $6 million; 3. The Words , $5 million; 4. The Expendables 2, $4.7 million.; 5. The Bourne Legacy, $4 million; 6. ParaNorman , $3.8 million; 7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green , $3.6 million; 8. The Campaign , $3.5 million; 9. The Dark Knight Rises , $3.3 million; 10. 2016 Obama's America , $3.3 million.