The 14 Lowest Grossing Movies to Debut at Number One at the Box Office in the Modern Era
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The 14 Lowest Grossing Movies to Debut at Number One at the Box Office in the Modern Era

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | September 9, 2012 | Comments ()


It wasn't just a lousy weekend at the box office, it was the lousiest weekend at the box office in years. The top 12 total movies at the box office amounted only $51 million. To put that in perspective, the top 12 movies at the box office made $52 million the weekend after September 11, 2001. In fact, the last time the top 12 movies made less than $51 million was two weekends after September 11, 2001. That's how bad the weekend was. Indeed, the number one film of the weekend, Possession, made only $9.5 million, which made it the 28th lowest grossing number one film of the modern era (i.e., since 1997).

Of course, $9.5 million is actually not a bad gross for Possession, as that was its second weekend (it opened at number one last weekend with $17 million). What's bad are films that debut at number one, and still make less than $10 million. Here's a list of the 14 films that have managed that feat since 1997.

1. Eye of the Beholder -- $5.9 million (January)

2. Fire Down Below -- $6 million (September)

3. Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star -- $6.6 million (September)

4. He Got Game -- $7.6 million (May)

5. Bangkok Dangerous -- $7.7 million (September)

6. Rounders -- $8.4 million (September)

7. Urban Legends: Final Cut -- $8.5 million (September)

8. The Covenant -- $8.8 million (September)

9. Pleasantville -- $8.8 million (October)

10. The Best Man -- $9.03 million (October)

11. The Watcher -- $9.06 million (September)

12. The Relic -- $9.06 million (January)

13. John Carpenter's Vampires -- $9.1 million (October)

14. Hardball -- $9.3 million (September)

Note that eight of those films opened in September, the real Hollywood dumping grounds (suck it, January).

The rest of the box office was even more dismal than The Possession. The highest grossing debut of this week was Bradley Cooper's The Words, which only mustered $5 million, good for third place (behind holdover Lawless, which made $6 million and is an awesome movie). That was better than the other wide release this weekend, Henry Cavill's The Cold Light of Day, which made only $1.8 million, opening at number 13. That's not very good.

In fact, I'm hard pressed to find any bright news in this week's box office, unless you count 2016: Obama's America, which made $3 million to bring its overall total to $26 million, making it the second most popular political documentary of all time behind Fahrenheit 9/11.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • blackvaginafinda





    Seriously, unless your directly employed by a movie studio why the fuck are you getting all O NOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! about this? You seem to be propagating the theory that the complete and utter collapse of the movie industry is imminent and then you, who don;t work for a studio would somehow be fired and thus unemployed.

    Oh yeah, except you aren't and you wouldn't, because you still be able to fart and whine and blub about tv shows and Spedi.



  • no one

    Two things, first that was a very interesting idea for a list. And second, what is it about 1997 that makes it the cut off for the modern era?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Refer to it as The Possession. My pop-culture-failing self thought you were referring to the AS Byatt adaptation. (whatever for the rest of the movie, that Ehle/Northam uncorseting scene was delicious)

  • Fredo

    Reasons why No One went to the movies this weekend:

    Reason #1: America is broke. Skint. Insolvent. Bankrupt. Busted.
    Reason #2: Professional tackle football was back!!!
    Reason #3: Summer 2012 was the biggest cocktease to ever tease a cock and left folks burnt.
    Reason #4: We were all attending the Lively-Reynolds nuptials.
    Reason #5: Basking in the glow of brilliance that was Syfy's "Super Shark"
    Reason #6: JoRo drank us all under the table. Where are my pants?

  • "Fire Down Below" - the gripping drama of a young man reeling from the effects of his first STD.
    Which should probably be the natural sequel to "Bangkok Dangerous".

  • luckypete

    What's more hard to believe is that some of those in the list even debuted at #1. C'mon people.

  • no one

    I think two of those, Rounders and Pleasantville, are pretty good.

  • zeke_the_pig

    'In fact, I’m hard pressed to find any bright news in this week’s box office, unless you count 2016: Obama’s America, which made $3 million to bring its overall total to $26 million'
    I don't count.

  • Natallica

    Oh, those good ole times when Hollywood was trying to make Gretchen Mol happen and she was given a pass just for being allegedly Harvey Weinstein's piece. Who would be her equivalent now? Bradley Cooper?

  • If people really wanted to make Gretchen Mol happen, they should have done a wide release of The Notorious Bettie Page with a big marketing push. She was great in that. Could have made her a star if people actually saw it.

  • Natallica

    I did heard that movie was good. I love Bettie Page, maybe I should check it out

  • e jerry powell

    Okay, there's a mental image for you: Harvey Weinstein being fellated by an emu.

    Eat that, Kristen Stewart...

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