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Robert Pattinson, Cosmopolis

Alfama Films

Robert Pattinson and the late Whitney Houston were among the bright spots in a sluggish late-summer box office.

The Sylvester Stallone-led The Expendables 2 led all films with an estimated Friday-Sunday take of $28.8 million.

Cosmopolis, Pattinson's venture with cult director David Cronenberg, came away the weekend's biggest per-screen average, while Houston's Sparkle looked solid with a $12 million debut. 

The R-rated Cosmopolis grossed about $72,000 at three theaters. The performance was Pattinson's best yet on the art-house circuit, and a big upgrade over last spring's Bel Ami.

Sparkle, meanwhile, bowed in fifth place in the standings, but sported the Top 10's best per-theater average after The Expendables 2. Opening-weekend audiences graded the film, a remake of the beloved 1970s backstage musical featuring Houston's final screen performance, an A.

The Expendables 2 likewise did well among its paying customers: Its CinemaScore was an A-minus. The 2009 franchise-starter, by comparison, was rated a B-minus.

Both The Expendanbles 2 and Sparkle drew older crowds. And since older crowds aren't exactly known for busting down theater doors, theater doors weren't exactly busted down: Overall business was off from last weekend.

The Expendables 2 came up short versus its predecessor, which grossed an eye-popping $34.8 million in its debut.

New films that played to families struggled. The 3-D animated ParaNorman failed to live up to Coraline (both films are from the same company), while Jennifer Garner's The Odd Life of Timothy Green got buried in seventh place. The latter film at least did all right by its Hollywood-cheap budget of $25 million.

The Bourne Legacy, last weekend's No. 1 film, did its best to provide the help that The Help delivered to last summer's August box office. The film had an OK hold, and upped its worldwide total to just under $100 million.

The Dark Knight Rises put up the weekend's showiest stat: It topped the $400 million mark domestically.

At about $410 million now, the tragedy-marked Batman movie pushed past The Hunger Games to become the year's second-biggest hit, and the 12th biggest domestic money-maker of all-time

Elsewhere, Ted exited the Top 10 after a stay of seven weekends, and a smash $213.1 million domestic run. 

Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday domestic estimates as reported by the studios and Exhibitor Relations:

  1. The Expendables 2, $28.8 million
  2. The Bourne Legacy, $17 million
  3. ParaNorman, $14 million
  4. The Campaign, $13.4 million
  5. Sparkle, $12 million
  6. The Dark Knight Rises, $11.1 million
  7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green, $10.9 million
  8. Hope Springs, $9.1 million
  9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, $3.9 million
  10. Total Recall, $3.5 million

(Originally published at 10:04 a.m. PT on Aug. 19, 2012.)