By Grady Smith
September 03, 2012 at 06:02 PM EDT
Richard Foreman Jr.

Another summer at the movies come and gone, folks.

The season, which kicked off with The Avengers‘ record-breaking bow in May, officially ended this weekend with a record of a very different sort courtesy of The Oogieloves. Fortunately for Hollywood, not every picture performed that badly — in fact, almost none of them did!

Note: This article covers the four-day Labor Day weekend frame. Three-day box office estimates can be found here.

In first place was Lionsgate’s $14 million horror title The Possession, which stars Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film earned $21.3 million over the Friday-to-Monday period, a stronger start than most industry insiders were expecting, and the second best gross ever for a movie over Labor Day weekend (a traditionally slow moviegoing frame) behind 2007’s Halloween, which debuted with $30.6 million.

The Possession benefited from its “inspired by a true events” conceit — a similar tagline helped another demonic film, The Devil Inside, which notably earned an “F” CinemaScore, top the chart earlier this year. Thankfully, audiences enjoyed The Possession a whole lot more than that — it earned a “B” CinemaScore grade. While that’s not likely to helps its box office endurance all that much (horror films typically plummet after they debut), that’s fine given The Possession‘s slim budget.

Richard Foreman Jr.

The Weinstein Company’s moonshine crime drama Lawless debuted in second place with $13 million from 2,888 theaters. The film, which was acquired for just over $5 million by Weinstein, has now earned $15.1 million (as well as a “B+” CinemaScore grade) since its Wednesday debut.

The period piece marks the worst opening for a Shia LaBeouf wide release since the golf drama The Greatest Game Ever Played, which only putted up $3.7 million in its first weekend in 2005 — two years before the Even Stevens star broke out in Transformers. Recently, the 26-year-old has expressed a desire to get as far away from the mainstream as possible (Look, he’s naked! He’s doing drugs! He’s performing un-simulated sex! He’s “done” with the studio system!), so it’s likely that he’ll see many worse weekends in the future.

A slew of holdovers filled up the remaining spots on the chart. In third place, The Expendables 2 scored $11.2 million in its third weekend, thereby lifting its running total to $68.6 million. As I said yesterday, the action ensemble has no shot at breaking $100 million domestically.

The Bourne Legacy grossed $9.4 million over the long weekend for a fourth place finish and a 25-day total of $98.4 million. It should join the century club in the next few days, yet Universal’s $125 sequel/reboot will finish its run as the lowest grossing Bourne movie domestically, behind even the franchise’s launchpad, The Bourne Identity, which took in $121.7 million in 2002.

Focus Features’ ParaNorman stuck around in fifth place with an $8.9 million long weekend. The 3-D stop motion animation from Laika Entertainment has grossed $40.3 million so far, but it won’t be able to match the gross of Laika’s first effort, Coraline, which had earned $53.8 million at the same point in its run on its way to a final $75.2 million gross. (Note: it’s not my intention to be negative about every release — but most box office performances for the past month have been pretty unimpressive and/or dismal.)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green got the biggest bump from the extended weekend, rising 19 percent to $8.5 million. Disney’s $25 million family drama — which has been known to cause a few tears — has held well at the box office since its weak $10.8 million debut, and it has now earned a not-half-bad $38.3 million total. Its “A-” CinemaScore has likely spurred strong word-of-mouth for the Jennifer Garner/Joel Edgerton picture.

Further down the chart, conservative political documentary 2016: Obama’s America pulled in another $7.1 million after expanding to 1,750 theaters — a slightly lower number than most expected following the Republican National Convention. Although the Rocky Mountain Pictures release has begun to show signs of cooling off, its $20.3 million total is very impressive for its genre, and it’s headed for a finish between $25-30 million, which would make it the 2nd-highest earning political doc of all time behind Fahrenheit 9/11, which grossed $119.2 million. Right now, Bowling for Columbine ($21.6 million), An Inconvenient Truth ($24.1 million), and Sicko ($24.5 million) are all still ahead.

And a special shoutout to Hope Springs: the marriage drama starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones has demonstrated considerable endurance since its soft $14.7 million debut four weeks ago. This weekend, Hope sprang to $6 million, lifting its total to $53.4 million. Given the fact that the film looked like a misfire after its opening weekend, and considering Sony spent only $15 million to acquire the film from Mandate (which, in turn, spent $29 million on its production), that’s an encouraging gross.

Disney also expanded The Avengers into 1,705 theaters for the weekend, and the superhero ensemble’s gross shot up to $2.4 million. As a result, The Avengers cume climbed to $620.3 million domestically, and it crossed the $1.5 billion mark worldwide. For those keeping track, that’s about $1.5 billion than The Oogieloves‘ box office total.

1. The Possession – $21.3 million

2. Lawless – $13.0 million

3. The Expendables 2 – $11.2 million

4. The Bourne Legacy – $9.4 million

5. ParaNorman – $8.9 million

Check back next weekend for full box office coverage of The Cold Light of Day and The Words, and follow me on Twitter for additional analysis and up-to-the-minute results.