‘The Butler’ Stays on Top With $17 Million

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  • 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 mystical powers.

    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 with the actor: 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 Winfrey and a savvy choice of a release date with little competition.

    “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.

    The 3-D release of Universal’s “Jurassic Park,” which opened in North America in April, led the overseas market with $30 million over the weekend, most of that from its opening in China.

    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.

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    8 thoughts on “‘The Butler’ Stays on Top With $17 Million

    1. No thanks, I’ll pass on all the coon’in from films and sportscasters and anyone else defending that fool on the Eagles.

    2. When I was a child growing up in the Midwest I used to hear stories about Black men who left the South and decided never to return. (Not even to visit family members.) This movie is not only about the son who participated in civil rights movement but it’s about the father making that choice to live life differently during those times. It seems somewhat obvious to me that both choices took courage and that each suffered great pain as a result of the choices they made. This is also a story about a mother and a wife caught in the middle but who ultimately supports her husband even to the point of slapping her disrespectful son whom she obviously adored. I saw my family in this story. My uncle made the same choice “The Butler” made at the age of 14 so I get it. My mom, aunts and older sisters are Oprah’s character in spades. (Right down to the red fingernails and lipstick.) While I’ve seem many, many films and read book after book on the South and the Civil rights movement, I’ve never seen my own story told in film, not this way. There were (and sometimes still are) two faces for most Black folks back then. One of the real us and the other used to survive some very challenging issues and times. I hope everyone goes to see this movie. I’ve seen it twice and there is a quiet dignity in it. Much like that of 2011′s “The Help”. Signed, The Proud Daughter of a Maid. (Who raised me to be so much more.)

    3. up to I looked at the draft which said $4225, I didnt believe …that…my brothers friend was like actually erning money part-time on-line.. there best friend has done this for under 22 months and resently cleard the depts on there house and got a great Citroën DS. go to,
      w­ww.wℴ­rk25.ℂ­ℴm

    4. KKK THREAT
      50 years MLK Day celebration: KKK Threat saddens my heart. They’re marching I’m still dealing with racism, unfair education system and violations of injustices. 50 years later, there is less of an” innocent until proven guilty system.” There is less interest in remedy injustices and equal rights. There is almost no interest in discovering the truth. People that can provide legal help, don’t have time unless you have the money. By the time a poor person can save the money, the statue time of limitations is up. This plan works out perfect for the persons and corporations in the wrong. However, it keeps the oppressed depressed for they have waited so long for nothing.
      Their justice fighting went from days to years without seeing JUSTICE come to light. The court will not hear the long kept evidence. So, while we cry for help, they flip the calendar of no justice.

      @RayarJohnson
      rjohnson4ob(at)gmail (dot) com

    5. WHITE PEOPLE GOT THEIR WHITE HEROES, We got the BUTLER to be proud of. The “BUTLER” is a set-back-in-time in the plight of Black America.

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