Diyah Pera / Lionsgate
"Possession" is reportedly based on a true story.
Supernatural thriller "The Possession" ranked No. 1 on U.S. and Canadian box office charts on Sunday, dethroning two-time champ "Expendables 2" and setting up for a likely win over the long U.S. holiday weekend.
"Possession" pulled in $17.7 million in North American ticket sales from Friday through Sunday and was expected to reach $21.3 million on Monday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. Crime drama "Lawless" finished in second place, and "Expendables 2" took the No. 3 slot.
Political documentary "2016: Obama's America," which dropped from seventh place last week to ninth pulled in $5.1 million over three days as it expanded across the country following a strong showing a week ago. The politically conservative critique of President Obama played in more than 1,700 theaters, up from about 1,100.
"Possession" is a horror film inspired by a newspaper account of a family that fights a demon known as a Dibbuk in ancient Yiddish folklore. The spirit resides in a Dibbuk box and is said to possesses people's bodies with the intention of devouring them.
In "Possession," the Dibbuk enters the body of a young woman, leaving her parents to figure out how to stop it. Kyra Sedgwick and Madison Davenport star in the film.
Another new film, "Lawless," nabbed $9.6 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters over the weekend. The movie stars Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke and Tom Hardy as bootlegging brothers in Prohibition-era Virginia.
Updated sales figures for the weekend's movies will come on Monday, when the United States and Canada mark the Labor Day (Labour Day) holiday. The weekend typically ranks as one the year's slowest as summer winds down and studios reserve their next big releases for holidays in November and December.
Through Sunday, action movie "Expendables 2" had dropped to the No. 3 spot after spending two weeks leading the North American charts. The movie stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and other 1980s tough guys as a group of spies sent on an easy mission that turns dangerous when they seek revenge for a murder.
It earned $8.8 million through Sunday and was expected to hit $11 million on Monday.
The No. 4 spot belonged to another action sequel, "The Bourne Legacy" starring Jeremy Renner as a spy who tries to escape pursuers from the CIA. The film earned $7.2 million through three days.
The weekend's other new movie, family film "Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure," sat in 28th place with domestic sales of $448,131.
Lions Gate Entertainment released "Possession" and "Expendables 2." Rocky Mountain Pictures distributed "2016," and privately-held Weinstein Co. distributed "Lawless." "Bourne Legacy" was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp. Kenn Viselman Presents released "Ooogieloves."