"The Possession" grips box office, "Oogieloves" flops big

Mon Sep 3, 2012 3:23pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Horror flick "The Possession" seized U.S. and Canadian box offices with a surprising $21.3 million debut over the Labor Day weekend while family film "Oogieloves" took the unwelcome title of worst debut for a widely released movie.

"The Possession," a supernatural thriller about a young woman inhabited by a demon, beat Prohibition-era crime drama "Lawless." The second-place finisher took in $13.0 million from Friday through Monday, according to studio estimates.

"Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure" pulled in just $445,000 through its first three days, a figure expected to rise to $602,000 through Monday. The three-day total ranked as the lowest debut for a film playing in at least 2,000 theaters, according to website Box Office Mojo.

Elsewhere, the documentary "2016: Obama's America" slipped to eighth place from last week's surprise seventh-place finish, and the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" crossed the rare $1 billion mark for global ticket sales. Walt Disney Co's "The Avengers" reached $1.5 billion.

For "Possession," the $21.3 million total from Friday through Monday ranked as the second-highest tally for a Labor Day weekend, behind only "Halloween" in 2007.

"Possession" tells the story of a young woman possessed by a demon known as a Dibbuk in ancient Yiddish folklore. Kyra Sedgwick and Madison Davenport star in the film, which Lions Gate Entertainment produced for around $15 million.

Going into the weekend, the studio had forecast four-day sales of up to $14 million. The Labor Day weekend release helped the film, said Richie Fay, distribution president for Lions Gate. Studios typically ignore that weekend because they figure families and students will be busy with back-to-school activities.

"Possession" showed that "along with buying those school supplies and getting backpacks for the kids, it's also a great time to get out and see a good horror film," Fay said.   Continued...

Actress Kyra Sedgwick arrives to attend the 2012 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York June 4, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson