Expendables keeps No. 1 spot

Posted: August 31, 2012 at 4:32 a.m.

Jeremy Renner has the lead role in The Bourne Legacy. The film came in second at last weekend’s box office and made more than $9.3 million.

— Hollywood may have run out of summer hits, but a political documentary is helping to fill the gap.

Holdover movies easily topped the weekend box office again, led by Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 2 at No. 1 for the secondstraight weekend with $13.4 million.

The weekend’s new wide releases were overshadowed by 2016: Obama’s America, which expanded from limited to nationwide release and took in $6.5 million to finish at No. 7.

The documentary is a conservative critique of what the country would look like four years from now if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, Obama’s America surpassed the $6 million debut of the No. 8 movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s action tale Premium Rush, a Columbia release that played in more than twice as many theaters as the Obama documentary.

The weekend’s other new wide releases opened weakly. Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell’s road-chase comedy Hit and Run, released by OpenRoad Films, debuted at No. 10 with $4.5 million, and the Warner Bros. fright flick The Apparition opened at No. 12 with $2.8 million.

The weak openings are typical of late August, a dumping ground for movies without much audience appeal as the summer blockbuster season winds down and young viewers switch to back-to-school mode.

But with less competition from Hollywood releases, it also opens the door forsurprise successes such as Obama’s America.

Obama’s America opened in a handful of theaters in mid-July and did strong business as it gradually widened to more cities. It jumped into the top-10 last weekend as it expanded into 1,091 theaters, leading all other wide releases with an average of $5,966 a cinema.

That’s a solid average, especially for a political documentary. But it pales next to the king of political documentaries, Michael Moore’s George W. Bush assault Fahrenheit 9/11, which opened at No. 1 with $23.9 million in June 2004, averaging $27,558 in 868 theaters. Fahrenheit 9/11 went on to become the top-grossing documentary ever with $119.1 million domestically.

Obama’s America is based on the book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, written by Dinesh D’Souza, who co-directed the movie with John Sullivan.

The documentary now has climbed to a $9.3 million domestic total, with prospects for strong business as the presidential election heats up following the conventions.

Released by Lionsgate,The Expendables 2 raised its domestic total to $52.2 million after two weekends.

In limited release, IFC Films’ Sleepwalk With Me had a huge debut with $77,400 in a single New York theater. Produced and co-written by Ira Glass of National Public Radio’s This American Life show, Sleepwalk With Me stars writer-director Mike Birbiglia in a semi-autobiographical story of a stand-up comic struggling with career and romance, along with bad bouts of sleepwalking.

MovieStyle, Pages 36 on 08/31/2012