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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘The Butler’ Disarms ‘Kick-Ass 2′

The Weinstein Co.

There’s something thematically appropriate about a movie telling the story of a butler who quietly influenced the United States taking the number one spot at the box office over its flashy, bigger rivals. Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler‘ took multiplexes by storm this weekend, taking down last week’s competition as well as a handful of seemingly strong newcomers.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Lee Daniels’ The Butler $25,010,000 $8,527 $25,010,000
2 We’re the Millers $17,780,000 (-32.7) $5,347 $69,513,000
3 Elysium $13,600,000 (-54.4) $4,141 $55,914,000
4 Kick-Ass 2 $13,568,000 $4,615 $13,568,000
5 Planes $13,141,000 (-40.9)
$3,536 $45,090,000
6 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $8,375,000 (-41.8) $2,719 $38,904,000
7 Jobs $6,700,000 $2,814 $6,700,000
8 2 Guns $5,572,000 (-50.5) $2,255 $59,221,000
9 The Smurfs 2 $4,600,000 (-50.7) $1,958 $56,912,000
10 The Wolverine $4,425,000 (-44.9) $2,150 $120,458,000

The $25 million opening weekend for ‘The Butler’ must be a pleasant surprise for Daniels and his 41 (!) credited producers. When the trailer for the film first hit, it was laughed off as looking like a Funny or Die video, but the historical drama is truly having the last laugh. In a few days, it’ll have paid for its production budget and it’ll officially be on the road to profitability and then awards season, where it may very well have a shot at some trophies. No really saw this one coming.

‘The Butler’ grossed nearly double that of its main competition, the violent superhero flick ‘Kick-Ass 2,’ which opened to a lousy $13 million. That’s no so much worse than the first film’s $19 million, but it’s enough to essentially put a stake in the ‘Kick-Ass’ franchise. The sequel will probably make money in the end since it didn’t cost too much, but audiences have proven (twice) that they really don’t care for these characters all that much.

Another supposed heavy hitter stumbled even harder this weekend, with ‘Jobs‘ opening at spot number seven with only $6 million. The film was made on the cheap so it’ll end up fine in the end, but that’s a lousy number for a movie about the guy who helped create some of the most popular devices in the history of mankind.

And there’s a reason you don’t see ‘Paranoia‘ listed on the top 10: it opened at number 13 with only $3 million. Not even a cast that includes Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Liam Hemsworth can make up for a completely non-existent marketing campaign.

While three out of the four new releases disappointed, ‘We’re the Millers‘ started showing some resilient legs, holding onto the number two spot and only taking a minor dip from its first week. With $69 million in the bank, the R-rated comedy looks poised to cross the $100 million mark in a few weeks, making it one of the bigger hits of August. The same cannot be said for ‘Elysium,’ which took a fairly large stumble into third place. However, ‘Planes‘ held on surprisingly strong, dropping only 40% for a $13 million weekend. That’s not bad, but it’s certainly not the smash hit Disney was hoping for.

Elsewhere on the top 10, ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters‘ continued to do its thing (i.e., not much at all), ‘2 Guns‘ continued to crawl to a respectable but not spectacular gross and ‘The Smurfs 2‘ continued to be a pale shadow of its predecessor. ‘The Wolverine‘ limped across the $120 million mark, but it’s just about ready to stop, tens of millions shy from the gross of the last film.

Next weekend sees the release of ‘The World’s End,’ ‘You’re Next‘ and ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.’ Could ‘You’re Next’ continue the trend of high-grossing R-rated horror movies? Is ‘The Mortal Instruments’ the next ‘Twilight’? Will ‘The World’s End’ surprise us all and take the top? We shall see.

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