Three new wide releases are entering the marketplace over Labor Day weekend, and one of them could break a box office record!
…for the worst opening weekend ever by a film playing on over 2,000 theaters. The strange kiddie flick The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure opened on Wednesday in 2,160 theaters and earned only $102,564. That’s a per theater average of $47. Yep, FORTY. SEVEN. DOLLARS. in each theater. About six tickets. That’s it. On opening day. Ouch.
Oogieloves, which stars Cary Elwes, Jamie Pressly, and Toni Braxton and somehow cost $20 million (with an additional reported $40 million in marketing costs!), has a solid shot at out-failing the misguided animated film Delgo, which grossed a record-low $511,920 from 2,160 theaters in 2008.
There are two lessons here. First, don’t ever open a creepy kids movie in 2,160 theaters. That number is clearly cursed. Second, I’m a morbid box office nerd who can’t wait to see whether Oogieloves breaks Delgo’s record. Stick with me throughout the Labor Day frame to find out if it does.
Oh yeah, there are some actual box office contenders opening in theaters, too – namely, Lawless and The Possession. Let’s talk about those.
The Possession, which stars Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, has the best shot at winning the weekend. The $14 million horror film from (who else?) Lionsgate will likely earn back its budget over the holiday weekend. Horror has been scarce at the box office as of late (I’m intentionally ignoring The Apparition, since most moviegoers weren’t even aware it was entering theaters last weekend), and Lionsgate has effectively marketed the demonic tale with creepy, evocative images like a ghastly arm reaching out of a young girl’s throat. Teens looking for one last hurrah before school starts back up should fill theater seats. It may earn about $14 million from 2,816 theaters over the four-day weekend.
The moonshinin’ crime drama Lawless won’t shine as bright. The film, which stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jessica Chastain, topped the box office on its opening Wednesday, but its slight $1.1 million take doesn’t inspire much hope for its weekend. Its vague title (changed from The Wettest County in the World), R-rating, and period setting are all working against it, but it will draw at least some crowds in its 2,565 theaters. Look for Lawless to earn about $11 million over the Friday-to-Monday period.
Also bubbling up this weekend is the much talked about conservative doc 2016: Obama’s America, which will likely finish in the top tier of the chart following its expansion into 1,750 theaters. Riled up conservatives who have spent this week watching the Republican National Convention on TV (notably 2016 was the only film in the Top 15 to decrease at the box office on Tuesday, the first night of Convention coverage) may flock to the movies to watch the anti-Obama doc, and it could earn about $10 million over four days. As I wrote earlier this week, 2016 could possibly top the chart if The Possession and Lawless prove weaker-than-expected.
Check back to EW all weekend to see how high The Possession climbs and how low Oogieloves actually falls, and follow me on Twitter for more box office updates and up-to-the-minute results.