B.O. Roundup, August 23-25: 'The Butler' and 'We're the Millers' Repeat

Sunday, 25 August 2013 10:43 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, August 23-25: 'The Butler' and 'We're the Millers' Repeat

With Labor Day just around the corner, this summer is coming to a close.

And it's doing so with two unexpected successes leading the weekend box office.  Lee Daniels' The Butler and We're the Millers repeated in first and second place, while new releases The World's End, You're Next, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones didn't manage to crack open the multiplex.

The Butler, which stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and a stacked ensemble, was the surprise winner last weekend.  Owing largely to exceedingly positive word of mouth, Lee Daniels' The Butler declined only 30% from its big debut, adding an estimated $17.0 million from 3,110 locations.  That brings the film's ten-day total to $52.2 million, putting it on course to clear $100 million by the end of its theatrical run.

Speaking of which, second-place movie We're the Millers brought in another $13.5 million in estimated earnings.  In its third frame, Rawson Marshall Thurber's comedy now stands at $91.7 million.  By this time next week, the film will have easily crossed that $100 million mark, making it perhaps the most unexpected hit of this summer.

Sony Pictures opened The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Wednesday in order to get a drop on the competition this weekend.  It kind of worked.  The supernatural-romance-adventure grossed an estimated $9.3 million from 3,118 locations.  That puts it in third place and, combined with its haul during the week, that brings its total so far to $14.0 million.

Sony and producer/financier Constantin Film have made no bones about planning a Mortal Instruments franchise based on the novels of Cassandra Clare.  The film's marketing aggressively courted younger audiences in yet another attempt to turn a popular YA novel run into a Twilight-style moneyprinting venture.  The sequel to City of Bones, which had a production budget of $60 million, is already in pre-production, but given the film's tremendous number of theaters, this showing must sting a bit and throw into doubt the wisdom of continuing the Shadowhunters' theatrical ventures.

In fourth place we find The World's End, the conclusion to the beloved Cornetto Trilogy directed by Edgar Wright and co-written by Wright and star Simon Pegg.  The action-comedy was by far the best-reviewed new release and debuted with $8.9 million in estimated earnings, putting it in fourth place on the domestic chart.  A spiritual sequel to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World's End cost roughly $20 million and is outpacing its predecessors Stateside.

That $8.9 million figure begins to look a whole lot more impressive when you consider that The World's End played in 1,549 screens.  That's fewer than half the locations of The Butler, We're the Millers, and The Mortal Instruments.  The film's $5,773 per-screen average is, in fact, the best in the top ten.

Among the new releases, the home invasion thriller You're Next was expected to be battling The Butler for supremacy this weekend.  Instead, the well-reviewed horror movie from director Adam Wingard debuted in seventh place with an estimated $7.0 million.  The gap between You're Next and number six movie Elysium is small enough that the two might swap places when the actual figures arrive tomorrow.

It's rare for a horror film to receive such strong reviews and since lower-budget The Conjuring and The Purge managed to become hits this summer, You're Next seemed poised to clean up this weekend.

Here are the top ten movies in America this weekend:

1. Lee Daniels' The Butler                                      $17.0 million               $52.2 million

2. We're the Millers                                                 $13.5 million               $91.7 million

3. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones             $9.3 million                $14.0 million

4. The World's End                                                 $8.9 million                 New Release

5. Planes                                                                 $8.5 million                 $59.5 million

6. Elysium                                                               $7.1 million                 $69.0 million

7. You're Next                                                         $7.0 million                 New Release

8. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters                      $5.2 million                 $48.3 million

9. Blue Jasmine                                                     $4.3 million                 $14.7 million

10. Kick-Ass 2                                                        $4.2 million                 $22.4 million

This Wednesday, Closed Circuit hits theaters, then the Labor Day weekend sees Getaway and One Direction: This Is Us joining the fray.

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