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Box office predictions: Ignoring the elephant in the room

Box office predictions: Ignoring the elephant in the room

By Joseph Irvine, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Aug. 31, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — The box office remained relatively undisturbed last weekend. The first four positions on the Top 5 list remained unchanged.

In first was "The Expendables 2," followed by "The Bourne Legacy" in second. Third went to "ParaNorman." In fourth was "The Campaign." In an unpredicted surprise "The Dark Knight Rises" indeed rose to take back fifth place from "Sparkle." Unfortunately, "Sparkle" took a swan dive down to 11th.

Three new films make their way to the box office this week. "Lawless" and "Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure" made a Wednesday debut, daring to ignore the elephant in the room at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

"The Possession." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Diyah Pera)
"The Possession." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Diyah Pera)

"The Possession" stood as the only Friday release, seeming to fall behind on the ever-growing trend of Wednesday releases.

The predictions for the Labor Day weekend are:

1. "The Possession"

This PG-13 horror film is poised to unseat "The Expendables 2," but certainly lacks the creativity of being able to carrying a unique title. One can take pity on those who try to find it on Netflix amid a myriad of other likewise-titled films after it has finished its theatrical run. Featuring the story of a young girl, Em, who is struggling with her parents' divorce, "The Possession" focuses around a box with Hebrew inscriptions that the title character acquires.

Interestingly portrayed as an allegory for divorce according to statements attributed to director Ole Bornedal, the box, once opened, starts to inflict havoc. Em begins to exhibit bizarre traits, initially discounted as being related to the tenuous divorce proceedings and the devastating effects that divorce has on young, impressionable children. Eventually it is realized that a supernatural force was unleashed, and the focus of all involved turns to finding the source of the chaos in order to prevent its continuance.

"Lawless" (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Richard Foreman, Jr.)
"Lawless" (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Richard Foreman, Jr.)

2. "Lawless"An interesting R-rated gangster film, "Lawless" stars Shia LaBeouf in a true story set during Prohibition-era America. Focusing on what was perceived to be corrupt laws, three brothers undertake the bootlegging business in order to maximize the supply-and-demand curve imbalance created by the outlawing of all alcoholic beverages.

Business proceeds well until local authorities discover these siblings' actions. Once discovered, the demands made by the local authorities are counter-intuitive. Rather than shutting them down outright with an axe in Andy Griffith and Don Knotts style, they demand a portion of the revenue generated. A battle for survival ensues, driven at its heart by the simple economics of tampering with free market theory.

"Expendables 2" (AP Photo/Lionsgate-Millennium Films, Frank Masi)
"Expendables 2" (AP Photo/Lionsgate-Millennium Films, Frank Masi)

3. "The Expendables 2"The star-laden cast of "The Expendables 2" features everyone from Jason Statham to Arnold Schwarzenegger. This sequel follows a group of mercenaries who seek revenge in tandem with stopping a deadly weapon from being used by the very villain they chase.

4. "The Bourne Legacy"

Despite the fact that this fourth installment in the franchise is missing Matt Damon, it continues to outperform expectations. Already it has surpassed the gross taken in by "The Bourne Identity" in the same period of time by over $10 million. Loyalists to the series would likely argue that it was the newness of "The Bourne Identity" that encumbered its rampant success during the first few weeks of the series' initial release, not the success of Renner in this retread.

"The Bourne Legacy" (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Mary Cybulski)
"The Bourne Legacy" (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Mary Cybulski)

Albeit titled after a book of the same name, "The Bourne Legacy" takes an entirely different approach to the story, detailing the lives of other agents who were involved in Operation Treadstone and their interactions. Largely ignoring Damon's character, this PG-13 action thriller provides a gripping narrative in its own right, set against breathtaking scenery.

5. "2016 Obama's America"

Viewers need to take caution in their approach to "2016 Obama's America," rated PG. Slated to expand into wide-release this weekend after a phenomenal run last week in limited release, "2016 Obama's America" is going to be energized coming out on the heels of the recent Republican National Convention.

Regardless of the political affiliations one may have, there were similar films released during the Bush administration. These included Oliver Stone's "W." and Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." The beauty of America is that citizens (and theatergoers) have the right to free speech and can portray thoughts and ideas — right, wrong or indifferent — through a variety of different mediums.

"2016: Obama's America" (AP Photo/Rocky Mountain Pictures)
"2016: Obama's America" (AP Photo/Rocky Mountain Pictures)

This film providers a natural counterbalance to the aforementioned Bush-era releases, ultimately presenting a documentary about President Barack Obama that is designed to degrade his accomplishments during these past four years. To those enraged by "2016 Obama's America," simply recall the feelings that were had as films about President Bush hit the silver screen.

To those who were enraged when films about President Bush were released while he still held office, ask yourself how you feel about "2016 Obama's America" being released at this particular date and time. The opportunity for reflection is invaluable as both sides of an overly heated partisan battle realize that a collective deep breath is in order and that no single side is resorting to tactics that have not been taken many times before.

Lastly, keep in mind that regardless of whether you agree with his policies, President Obama is our duly-elected president and deserves all of the respect which that office commands, even through many disagree with his policies.

Joseph Irvine was a Koch Scholar while at Utah State University, learning the intricacies of free market economics. A political moderate, Joseph participated in the 2008 Republican National Convention for USU but is quick to support President Obama.

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