Hollywood's disappointing summer extended into the first full weekend in September. With uninspiring new releases like "The Words" and "The Cold Light Of Day" in theaters alongside a slew of mediocre holdovers, box office revenues were at post-9/11 lows. Friday-to-Sunday ticket sales were estimated between $65 million and $67 million according to THR, marking the worst combined weekend total since Sept. 21-23, 2001 when films earned just $59.7 million
"The Possession" was the number one choice for the second week in a row, grossing $9.5 million. It's the first film to lead the box office with less than $10 million since "Bangkok Dangerous" was the top earner during this weekend in 2008. "Lawless" earned the number two position with $6 million, while "The Words" opened in third place with $5 million. Not that the film was expected to be a blockbuster, despite famous faces like Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana: The CBS Films release was produced for $6 million.
"Nobody picks the first weekend of September because they think it's going to be a huge gross," Steven Friedlander, executive vice president of theatrical distribution for CBS Films, told the Los Angeles Times. According to Friedlander, the hope for early September releases is that small films will find an audience through word of mouth.
That won't the case with "The Cold Light of Day." Despite stars Bruce Willis and Henry Cavill, the action film finished in 13th place with $1.8 million grossed from 1,511 screens. By contrast, the IMAX re-release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" grossed $1.75 million from just 267 IMAX venues.
For more on the lackluster weekend, head over to THR.
'The Amityville Horror' and Remake (1979 | 2005)
<strong>The Story:</strong> Rondald DeFeo bizarrely murders his whole family; a year later George and Kathy Lutz move into the DeFeo house and experience paranormal terrors. <strong>The Facts:</strong> The real priest who claimed to be assaulted by a paranormal presence has flip-flopped over the years, on whether he actually stepped foot in the house or not. Local Native American leaders dismissed that the house was built on a burial ground. When the Lutzs sued several authors and publications for misappropriation of their story, the judge threw their case out, claiming they were being coerced by Ronald DeFeo's defense lawyer, William Weber, into fabricating the whole thing. Weber later told <em>People Magazine</em> that it indeed was a hoax. No future tenants have ever reported any strange occurrences.
'The Mothman Prophecies' (2002)
<strong>The Story:</strong> Richard Gere stars as John Klein, a reporter investigating the urban legend of the Mothman and the creature's connections to his wife's death and a catastrophic unexplained bridge collapse. <strong>The Facts:</strong> The bridge collapse was explained: the 40-year-old bridge did not receive proper maintenance and its eyebar supports could not handle the increasing weights placed on it. No Mothmen have ever been accurately documented.
'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' (2005)
<strong>The Story:</strong> The courtroom thriller examines the mysterious death of Emily Rose, who was allegedly a victim of demonic possession. <strong>The Facts:</strong> The real Emily Rose -- a German Catholic woman by the name of Annelise Michael --was treated for epilepsy, depression and schizophrenia. She and her family rejected many treatments, claiming she was possessed. She passed away after a year of religious rites left her with extreme malnourishment and dehydration. Two year after her death, her body was exhumed when her parents claimed that a nun received a vision that Michael's body was still intact, This turned out to be not true.
'An American Haunting' (2005)
<strong>The Story:</strong> A young woman in the present day is plagued by a terrifying dream; her mother then discovers letters indicating they live in the house previously owned by a young woman in the 19th century, that was terrorized by the Bell Witch of folklore. <strong>The Facts:</strong> Most accounts of the Bell Witch's attacks have been lost to time. Historically, the poltergeist was theorized to be nothing more than a local schoolteacher who worked with several people to scare a family. The 21st century connection never happened anywhere. Ever.
'Wolf Creek' (2005)
<strong>The Story:</strong> British tourists are tortured in the Australian countryside by a sadistic Outback madman, who vanishes into the night. <strong>The Facts:</strong> The specific scenes of torture were never actually commited by a mysterious man who got away. The script was inspired by two of the most infamous -- and convicted -- killers in Australian history.
'Primeval' (2007) | 'Rogue' (2008)
<strong>The Story:</strong> Two giant man-eating crocodile movies, based on two giant man-eating crocodiles! (One in the Republic of Burundi, one in Australia) <strong>The Facts:</strong> "Primeval" is based on Gustave, an extremely rare big-ass croc. The numbers of his human death toll have never been properly documented outside of local legend. Due to the turbulent political-economic situation in the country, filmmakers and scientists have never been able to study the animal longterm. All of the movie's marketing -- in trailers and posters -- failed to mention it was about a crocodile, when describing the "at-large, most prolific serial killer in history." "Rogue" was based on a giant crocodile named Sweetheart that attacaked some boats in the '70s, but never actually killed anyone. <em>Come on! </em>
'Them' (2006) | 'The Strangers' (2008)
<strong>The Story:</strong> In the French film "Them" (a.k.a. "Ils"), a couple is attacked by several hooded children who have a penchant for killing people that don't play with them. In the American "The Strangers" (<em>that's so totally not a ripoff you guys</em>) a young couple is attacked by masked grown-ups who have a penchant for killing people because they were home. <strong>The Facts:</strong> "Them" is based on one isolated incident of teenagers attacking a vacationing couple -- and aged the killers down for the movie. "The Strangers" is based off an incident from the screenwriter's childhood, involving a neighborhood robbery, and the notorious Manson family.
'The Haunting in Connecticut' (2009)
<strong>The Story:</strong> A family moves into a former mortuary, renovated as living quarters that are better situated for taking care of their cancer-stricken son. Paranormal forces subsequently attack the family. <strong>The Facts:</strong> The family who claimed their house was plagued by demons had their accounts verified by Ed and Lorraine Warren, the paranormal investigators/authors/TV personalities that verified the supposed Amityville hauntings. The Warrens co-authored an account with horror novelist Ray Garton, who dismissed the book and stated the family was suffering through drug and alcohol addictions, and constantly changed their story.
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