‘Possession’ tops sluggish pack on Friday

Weekend likely to end up among lowest three-day B.O. totals in years

The third consecutive depressed weekend at the domestic B.O. may be throwing its hat in the ring as one of the lowest three-day returns in recent memory, as no film is expected to break $10 million this frame. The leader of the subdued pack on Friday was Lionsgate holdover “The Possession,” down 52% from last Friday with $2.9 million.

Though there is no one culprit for the muted grosses – this is generally an underperforming window of time at the domestic B.O. regardless – some insiders are pointing to Warner Bros.’ “Gangster Squad,” the would-be splashy opener of the weekend that was pushed to 2013 to give the film time for reshoots after the studio worried one sequence too closely resembled the July 20 shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, CO.

The other remaining openers are struggling to stand out from the pack. CBS Films rolled out “The Words” Friday for $1.6 million with an estimated three-day haul of $5 million. Though it’s a rough start, CBS is not too concerned as adult dramas like “Words” tend to have longer legs than genre films, and pic only cost $6 million to produce and $2 million to acquire, so not accounting for marketing costs, CBS is well on its way to recouping its spend.

The same can’t be said for Summit’s “The Cold Light of Day.” Budgeted at $20 million with a $637,000 return on Friday and a three-day expected to top out at $2 million, pic looks to wind up a write-off for the Lionsgate subsidiary and its financing partner Intrepid.

Ultimately, this frame is not likely to beat this same frame in 2003, when “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and “Jeepers Creepers 2” won with $6.7 million and $6.6 million respectively, for worst three-day haul in recent history. “Possession” is headed to land between $9 million and $10 million through Sunday. But the B.O. will need to bounce back soon if Hollywood expects to continue to outgross 2011.

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