"Lee Daniels' The Butler” is on its way to a repeat victory at the weekend box office, as it easily outperformed three new wide releases Friday.
The Oprah Winfrey-Forest Whitaker civil rights saga brought in $4.8 million, and should finish with about $16 million for the three days. It's good news for the Weinstein Company. A solid second-week hold — it was off just 43 percent from last Friday — would indicate its mature-skewing Oscar hopeful has a good shot at playing through the awards season.
The debuting teen fantasy "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” and horror movie "You're Next” failed to connect, and were bunched with the other wide opener, the Simon Pegg-Edgar Wright comedy "The World's End,” after Friday. All three are looking at $8 million or $9 million for the weekend.
Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine,” which Sony Pictures Classics expanded from 229 theaters to 1,283, isn't breaking out. After a $1.1 million Friday it's looking at a $4 million weekend total, just cracking the top ten.
The summer will be the biggest ever in terms of domestic grosses, but with the blockbusters in the rear view mirror, things have slowed significantly. This will be the first week since February with a winner under $20 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
Warner Bros.' Jennifer Aniston-Jason Sudeikis comedy "We're the Millers” was on course to repeat as runner-up with a $13 million third weekend after a $3.9 million Friday. Its domestic total should cross $90 million by Sunday.
Lionsgate's R-rated "You're Next” had a chance to follow "The Purge" and "The Conjuring" as the third low-budget horror film to win a weekend this summer, but that's not going to happen. It opened in 2,437 theaters to just $2.9 million Friday, when fans of the genre typically turn out, and its "B-" CinemaScore won't help.
Focus Features' R-rated sci-fi comedy "The World's End" had the best per-screen average of any movie Friday, taking in $3.4 million from 1,548 theaters. That was well under the count for "The Butler" (3,110) and "We're the Millers' (a market-high 3,445) and the other debuting movies.
"The World's End," in which pals on an epic pub crawl try to save the world, is on pace to top the debut of the last effort from the filmmakers, "Hot Fuzz." That one topped $23 million domestically in 2007 after its opened to $5.8 million, but it was in just 845 theaters. First-night audiences gave it a "B+” CinemaScore.
Sony's PG-13 rated "Mortal Instruments" brought in $3.1 million Friday from 2,835 locations. That puts it on track for a soft $13 million since its Wednesday opening and means it will be the third film this year to target the "Twilight” crowd and come up short. "Beautiful Creatures” and "The Host” misfired earlier.
Disney's animated "Planes" was in the $8 million same range as the newcomers after its $2.3 million Friday, and should get a bump from families on Saturday
Sony's "Elysium” is on pace for a $7 million third week and was running seventh, ahead of Fox's "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” and Universal's "Kick-Ass 2,” which plunged nearly 80 percent in its second week.