Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 10, 2012

'Possession' remains No. 1 at weak box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Possession" occupied the top spot at a nearly comatose box office.

The fright flick with Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing the parents of a girl possessed by a demon earned $9.5 million in its second outing, the lowest grossing weekend for the box office this year and one of the worst weekends at the box office in a decade. It marked the first time since 2008 that no film managed to crack the $10 million mark.

The weekend after Labor Day is typically the slowest of the year, but this weekend's grosses were down 20 percent over last year when "Contagion" opened in first place with $22.4 million. Total box office revenues are estimated at $67 million, which would make this the worst weekend at the box office since the weekend after 9/11 when revenues were $59.7 million.

"There just wasn't a strong opener," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "We came off a summer that ended with a whimper. There wasn't any momentum. It just comes down to the movies and the marketplace. There's wasn't some extraneous force keeping people out of the theaters. This crop of movies just didn't have that solid draw."

The bootlegging tale "Lawless" starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain kept a lock on the No. 2 position in its second weekend with $6 million, bringing its total haul to $23.5 million, while "The Words" featuring Bradley Cooper as an aspiring writer and Zoe Saldana as his girlfriend debuted in third place with $5 million.

A pair of action sequels rounded out the top five films. The ensemble flick "The Expendables 2" earned $4.7 million in its fourth weekend, while "The Bourne Legacy" captured $4 million in its fifth outing at the box office. "Expendables 2" also won $14 million internationally in 23 territories, and "Bourne Legacy" nabbed $13 million in 49 territories.

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