Audiences went to the theaters in search of a scare over Labor Day Weekend, as The Possession opened ahead of John Hillcoat’s Lawless for the four-day holiday frame.
The supernatural story couldn’t open at the level of some of this year’s horror hits, from The Woman in Black ($20.8M) or The Devil Inside ($33.7M). But it did lean on the presence of households names Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan to sell a few extra tickets.
The No. 1 opening for The Possession bodes well for other horror films that are set to open in the coming weeks. If this film can generate $17M in ticket sales, there’s a good chance movies like House at the End of the Street (9/21) and Sinister (10/5) can perform admirably.
Household names didn’t help Lawless as much as they did Possession. The period gangster movie has major stars in Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf, but topped out at $10M over the Labor Day frame. It’s very possible that The Expendables 2 pulled a few dollars away from Lawless’ overall take, as the two movies play to the same basic audience. But with Hardy coming off of his turn as Bane in the Batman sequel, this likely was the biggest crowd a genre exercise like Lawless was going to be able to lure.
Since that Oogielove movie couldn’t crack the $500,000 mark at the box office, let’s take a moment to point out that Joss Whedon’s The Avengers returned to theaters for one last victory lap over Labor Day, and managed to push its global cume past $1.5 billion in the process.