‘The Possession’ is set to scare off competition

By Amy Kaufman
Los Angeles Times

The horror film “The Possession” is set to claim the No. 1 spot over the Labor Day weekend, though the most frightening thing at the box office may be poor overall ticket sales.

The Sam Raimi-produced scary movie is expected to take in a decent $15 million over the four-day holiday, according to individuals who have seen pre-release audience surveys.

“Lawless,” a crime drama starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy, will have to vie for the runner-up position against “2016: Obama’s America,” as each is likely to gross around $12 million during the long weekend. The low-cost political documentary, which has already sold nearly $11 million worth of tickets, will add roughly 700 theaters as it expands to 1,800 locations this weekend.

“The Possession” is based on a story that first appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 2004 about a college student who purchased a supposedly haunted cabinet box at a yard sale.

The movie, which stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick, only scored a 31 percent fresh rating Thursday on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lionsgate co-financed the film with Raimi’s production company Ghost House Pictures for around $14 million.

The movie will need a miracle to become a financial success. It had a budget of around $20 million and marketing costs of $40 million, all paid for by Viselman and a small group of high-net-worth private investors.

Last year, Pixar’s “Cars 2” _ which first hit theaters in June 2011 _ expanded from around 200 theaters to more than 2,000 during the Labor Day holiday and grossed $1.8 million.