Leading the box office is the chiller The Possession (2,816 theatres), a "Jewish-themed Exorcist" with "cheap scares." THR's Frank Scheck cheekily predicts that "if nothing else," it should "discourage the practice of buying antique wooden boxes at flea markets." A nice teen-million debut should be in store for the movie, which hopefully has better luck than The Apparition, which opened last weekend to a lackluster $2.8 million.
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure will be competing for the title of biggest flop this weekend. The movie, which targets kids from ages 3-5, opened to a shockingly low $47 per-screen average on Wednesday. The release on 2,160 screens is way too big for this kind of movie. It will probably earn something in the $5 million range over the four-day weekend. That's still a pittance compared to the $55 million marketing and production budget. How does a movie featuring nobodies in costumes cost that much money? I'm seriously confused about this tot-centered picture, though I bet it will do well in the home video market, where parents can let their kids watch the movie in the other room without being forced to devote their whole attention to content that's way above them.
The uber-violent Lawless (2,565 theatres), which opened on Wednesday to $1.1 million, should end up in the teen millions. With the popularity of "Boardwalk Empire," I was excited to see another Prohibition-set movie, but I found the shoot and knife 'em ups to be unnecessarily gruesome. FJI's Daniel Eagan faults the "glum, pompous drama," and also notes there are far better TV shows (he mentions "Breaking Bad" and "Justified") that elicit more powerful reactions in viewers.
Also not to be overlooked is 2016: Obama's America. The political doc has earned $12.3 million to date, $10 million of which came after last Friday's expansion. Most trackers aren't used to predicting a movie with these kinds of demographics, so another big weekend could be in store for the conservative movie.
To lure infrequent moviegoers who may not be caught up on this summer's blockbusters (or who want to see them again), Disney is expanding the releases of The Avengers and Brave. The superhero movie will play in 1,700 theatres, up from 123. Brave will also move into 1,700 theatres, from 423 locations.
For a Good Time, Call... (23 theatres) is the tale of two enemies-turned-friends who start a phone-sex line business in their apartment. It sounds raunchy, but it's actually a surprisingly engaging story of twentysomething female friendship (with some sex-toy sight gags thrown in). FJI's David Noh agrees, dubbing the "carefree and affectionate" movie a "rather winning little female-fueled comedy." Ari Graynor is particularly sharp in her role, in a rare upgrade from the supporting roles she usually plays.
On Tuesday, we'll give a rundown of how everything did in what's usually one of the slowest holiday periods for the box office.