So it’s Labor Day weekend, which is often one of the more sluggish box office weekends of the year. Give teens a horror movie, and it can work like catnip. And so we see The Possession dominate.

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 The Possession
$17,725,000 $6,294 $17,725,000
2 Lawless $9,674,000 $3,350 $11,816,000
3 The Expendables 2 $8,800,000 (-34.4) $2,639 $66,159,000
4 The Bourne Legacy $7,248,000 (-22.4) $2,315 $96,247,000
5 ParaNorman $6,551,000 (-24.2)
$2,124 $38,025,000
6 The Odd Life of Timothy Green
$6,055,000 (-15.0) $2,298 $35,900,000
7 The Dark Knight Rises $5,880,000 (-18.6) $2,689 $431,196,000
8 The Campaign $5,445,000 (-27.1) $1,851 $73,022,000
9 2016 Obama’s America $5,103,000 (-21.6) $2,916 $18,203,000
10 Hope Springs $4,700,000 (-17.9) $1,925 $52,057,000

Though I would like to argue it was quality that turned The Possession into such a strong performer (and to a certain extent, it must be that, because The Apparition opened recently and had a similarly generic title), it’s mostly due to good advertising, and a lack of alternatives. On further Apparition vs. Possession comparisons, LionsGate wasn’t trying to hide or dump their film, had Sam Raimi behind it, and put it on nearly 3,000 screens, while Warner Brothers dumped their picture, even with slightly bigger names, and put it on 810 screens. Expect The Possession to make around $50 Million when all is said and done, which should be a healthy enough total to lead to sequel talk.

Lawless opened Wednesday and that didn’t help much. The picture has a bunch of sort-of names, and didn’t get that much festival buzz, even though it played Cannes. This though is much better than Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure, the other picture that opened Wednesday and had the lowest opening for a very wide release ever, and the second lowest per screen total of all time. So, you know, it could be worse.

The Expendables 2 has no shot of doing the business of the first film, but international may yet be its savior. With $133 Million in the bank from worldwide, we may yet see this cross $200 all-in. But in America it’s not going to cross $100 Million. The Bourne Legacy will get into the nine digit zone, but it feels like the only way they can do more is if they bring back Matt Damon. Load up the money truck and go to his house, Universal.

Paranorman is quietly chugging along, perhaps $60 Million is not out of reach, as it won’t have much competition for the kids until September 14, when the 3D reissue of Finding Nemo hits.

As for the rest, Hope Springs getting to over $50 Million is a quiet surprise, and Timothy Green is at least playing a little. 2016 Obama’s America expanded its run by adding 656 theaters, and went down in gross, which means that it didn’t catch on – it’s per screen average dropped by half. A $20 Million plus cume means that the makers should have done well with it, but with two wide releases next weekend it’s likely that this is the last time it’s in the top ten if it keeps falling like that.

Reality Check: I thought The Possession would be weaker, and Obama’s America stronger. Oh well

What did you see this weekend?