NEW YORK (AP) - "Lee Daniels' The Butler" served up a second helping
at the box office, topping the weekend with $17 million according to
studio estimates Sunday.
That was enough to lead all films on a late August
weekend known as a dumping ground for studios following their summer
blockbusters and before the start of the fall movie-going season.
Daniels' historical drama about a long-serving White House butler,
starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, last weekend opened with
$24.6 million for the Weinstein Co.
Three new releases failed to catch on. The teen
fantasy "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," adapted from the popular
young adult book series, opened tepidly in third with $9.3 million on
the weekend and $14 million since opening Wednesday. With franchise
hopes, Sony Screen Gems has already started production on a sequel,
again starring Lily Collins as a New York teenager who discovers she has
Edgar Wright's pub-crawl-gone-wrong comedy "The
World's End" opened with $8.9 million for Focus Features. That was a
better start for "The World's End," which stars Simon Pegg, than
Wright's last film, 2007's "Hot Fuzz." It opened with $5.8 million.
Playing in 1,549 theaters, "The World's End" did its business in less
than half the theaters of "The Butler" or "Mortal Instruments."
Despite good reviews, Lionsgate's home-invasion horror flick "You're Next" opened weakly with $7.1 million.
With a cumulative total of $52.3 million, "The
Butler" is headed for a domestic haul of $100 million. It has followed
the release pattern of another movie about race and domestic service:
the 2011 drama "The Help," also released in August. The Weinstein Co.
hopes that "The Butler" will similarly lead to Oscar nominations.
Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker
Hollywood.com, attributed the success of "The Butler" particularly to
the marketing power of Winrey and a savvy choice of a release date with
"This is a film that you wouldn't want to open in
June or July," said Dergarabedian. "The release date that the Weinstein
Co. picked absolutely paid off for them."
In its third week of release, Warner Bros.' R-rated
road trip comedy "We're the Millers," starring Jason Sudeikis and
Jennifer Aniston, continued to thrive. It took in $13.5 million over the
weekend, bringing its overall total to $91.7 million.
Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" became his widest
release ever. Sony Pictures Classics expanded Allen's drama of a ruined
socialite starring Cate Blanchett to 1,283 theaters. It made $4.3
million over the weekend after earning more than $10 million in four
weeks of limited release.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at
U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where
available, latest international numbers are also included. Final
domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. "Lee Daniels' The Butler," $17 million.
2. "We're the Millers," $13.5 million.
3. "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," $9.3 million.
4. "The World's End" $8.9 million.
5. "Planes," $8.6 million ($5.9 million international).
6. "Elysium," $7.1 million.
7. "You're Next," $7.1 million.
8. "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," $5.2 million.
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