Tormented by their own memories of that time they discovered an unpublished genius manuscript, passed it off as their own to worldwide acclaim, only to have its decrepit original author seek them out and shame them with a boring story about World War II, audiences passed on The Words, uneager to relive their shame vicariously through Bradley Cooper. Of course, there are probably other, more plausible and less insultingly stupid explanations—such as audiences thought the movie was literally just a bunch of words, and they don't go to movie-films what to do readin'—but whatever the reason, The Words debuted at third place with around $5 million, and it now bears the distinction of being the highest-profile release on the worst box-office weekend of the year since around 2008.
Not even the promise of seeing their future Superman and Bruce Willis do some spy shit while running around Europe in The Cold Light Of Day was enough to get audiences into theaters (and normally people love spy shit and running around Europe!). It eked out a 13th-place start that reflected its complete lack of marketing, other than appearing in negative reviews. The all-around underperforming allowed the limited IMAX re-release of Raiders Of The Lost Ark to land at 14th place, despite next to no promotion, and it left the top spots wide open for middling "hits" The Possession and Lawless to hang on to their No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, without their doing all that much to earn it.
Naturally, the weekend was rife with indies hoping to cash in on this incredibly lowered bar of competition. Though Branded ranked higher thanks to its wider release ($251,000 total in just over 300 theaters), the most successful of these was probably Bachelorette, which took in an average of $4,064 per theater, even though it's been available on VOD and iTunes for a while now. And The Inbetweeners ($3,600 per 10 theaters) also did relatively well considering its very niche Anglophile audience, while Keep The Lights On ($11,260 per five theaters) and Hello I Must Be Going ($13,200 per two theaters) both performed fairly strongly, considering. Still, nothing matches Detropia: Screening in just one theater, New York's IFC Center, the documentary pulled in a pretty staggering $18,400 from New Yorkers who gathered to demonstrate their concern for Detroit and/or laugh at it.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.
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