Not even the Sexiest Man Alive could lure moviegoers to the box office this weekend.
On the the slowest weekend at the multiplex thus far this year,
"The Words" trailed behind, opening on the low end of Hollywood projections with $5 million. The movie at least performed better than
Overall, ticket sales amounted to only $67 million -- the lowest sum since the second weekend after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when the take was just $59.4 million. Receipts were down 18% from the same weekend last year, when at least one film was able to crack the $10-million mark.
"Nobody picks the first weekend of September because they think it's going to be a huge gross," acknowledged Steven Friedlander, executive vice president of theatrical distribution for CBS Films, which is releasing "The Words." "You open films that you want to sit there and find an audience. Historically, it's a weekend where people are getting their life back into order after the summer, and movies aren't part of it. You're doing back-to-school shopping, getting the kids into the dorms, and soccer moms are back on the road."
The few who did turn up to see "The Words" this weekend were mostly older women, as 58% of the audience was female and 78% was over the age of 25. In the film, Cooper plays a down-on-his-luck aspiring novelist who encounters an ethical dilemma when he comes across an unpublished manuscript from the 1940s.
The $6-million production, acquired by CBS Films for $2 million at the
Cooper, who rose to fame after the success of the raunchy ensemble comedy
"I don't think the performance of 'The Words' is an indictment of Bradley Cooper," Friedlander said. "I think he does have the potential to be a strong leading man. The bad reviews were really about the movie -- they weren't about his performance."
Similarly, "The Cold Light of Day" star Cavill will hope to attract more positive attention when he debuts as
His latest film barely got any promotion from Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment after a poor international run prior to the film's North American debut indicated it likely wouldn't fare well domestically. Indeed, audiences hated it, giving it an average D+ grade. The studio co-financed the movie, about a man whose family is kidnapped during a family holiday in Spain, for about $20 million with Intrepid Pictures.
One bright spot this weekend was an Imax re-release of 1981's "
Meanwhile, the crude wedding comedy
[Updated, 12:17 p.m. Sept. 9: Overseas,
"The Dark Knight Rises" has fared best in the United Kingdom and Australia. However, the movie only recently opened in China and has already collected around $42 million there.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
1. "The Possession" (Lionsgate/Ghost House): $9.5 million on its second weekend, down 46%. Domestic total: $33.3 million.
3. "The Words" (CBS Films): Opened with $5 million.
4. "The Expendables 2" (Lionsgate/Millennium): $4.8 million on its fourth weekend, down 47%. Domestic total: $75.4 million.
5. "The Bourne Legacy" (Universal/Relativity): $4 million on its fifth weekend, down 44%. Domestic total: $103.7 million. $13 million overseas in 48 foreign markets. International total: $78.2 million.
6. "ParaNorman" (Focus/Laika): $3.8 million on its fourth weekend, down 42%. Domestic total: $45.1 million. $2.4 million overseas in 27 foreign markets. International total: $20.4 million.
7. "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" (Disney): $3.7 million on its fourth weekend, down 42%. Domestic total: $43 million.
8. "The Campaign" (Warner Bros.): $3.5 million on its fifth weekend, down 38%. Domestic total: $79.8 million.