Studios generally load the first two weekends of September, when many young moviegoers are returning to school and when football season is beginning, with their dregs. Spelled d-r-e-c-k. The result this year was evident in ticket sales. The top twelve films grossed $51.9 million, down more than 20 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago when Warner Bros.' Contagion opened with $22.4 million. This time around Lionsgate's The Possession remained at No. 1 for the second week with just $9.3 million. Two new films opened over the weekend, but one of them, CBS Films' The Words , earned just $4.8 million to finish fourth, and the other, Lionsgate's The Cold Light of Day, didn't make the top ten list at all, finishing at No. 13 with just $1.8 million. The only bright spot at the box office was provided by the 31-year-old Raiders of the Lost Ark , restored for 267 IMAX screens ahead of its re-release next week on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. It took in $1.7 million for a per-theater average of $6,269, nearly twice what the No. 1 film, The Possession earned on a per-theater basis. All in all, it was the worst weekend at the box office since 2008, and, when final calculations are made, could turn out to be the worst weekend ever on the basis of attendance.

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date) 1. The Possession , Lionsgate, $9,317,472, 2 Wks. ($33,166,582); 2. Lawless , Weinstein Co. $6,007,036, 2 Wks. ($23,525,455); 3. The Expendables 2 , Lionsgate, $4,951,899, 4 Wks. ($75,619,038); 4. T he Words , CBS Films, $4,750,894, (New); 5. ParaNorman , Focus, $4,195,415, 4 Wks. ($45,452,876); 6. The Bourne Legacy , Universal, $3,969,330, 5 Wks. ($103,628,825); 7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green , Disney, $3,650,158, 4 Wks. ($43,007,208); 8. The Campaign , Warner Bros., $3,377,189, 5 Wks. ($79,320,621); 9. 2016 Obama's America , Rocky Mountain Pictures, $3,309,422, 9 Wks, $26,115,717); 10. The Dark Knight Rises , Warner Bros., $3,218,189, 8 Wks. ($437,782,482).

11/09/2012