"Sparkle," Whitney Houston's final movie, grossed $12 million at the box office, according to estimates provided by the film's distributor TriStar/Sony. The tally was on the low end of expectations.
The musical film, which co-stars Jordin Sparks, is expected to be No. 5 at the box office when the final numbers for the weekend are released Monday. It opened on 2,244 screens, grossing $4.5 million on Friday and $200,000 less on Saturday.
Houston's previous theatrical release, 1996's "The Preacher's Wife," pulled in $7.6 million in its opening weekend in December 1996. It would go on to gross $48 million.
"Waiting to Exhale," the ensemble drama from 1995, made $14.2 million when it opened and 1992's "The Bodyguard gross $16.6 million in its opening stanza. All of Houston's previous films opened between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
August, never a good month for original themes and characters, is typical this year with big budget sequels - "The Expendables 2," "The Bourne Legacy" - family fare ("ParaNorman 3D") and comedies such as "The Campaign." "Sparkle" was a bit of counter-programming, a plan that was in place prior to Houston's death on February.
The film was promoted to women and audiences who would connect with its music and themes of faith and family. The Hollywood Reporter reported that 74 percent of the audience was female and 62 percent over the age of 35.
Houston plays the mother of three girls who form a a singing group in Detroit. The original, featuring the music of Curtis Mayfield and the voice of Aretha Franklin, came out in 1976.
Watch Jordin Sparks Talk 'Sparkle':