Lee Daniels’ The Butler shocked most pundits this weekend by making almost twice as much as the predicted winner, Kick-Ass 2. The biopic took in $25 million according to box office estimates. This is almost identical to the $26 million opening of The Help—another racially driven period piece released in August with strong support from Oprah Winfrey. That film had strong enough legs to reach almost $170 million and a best picture nomination. Only time will tell if The Butler can do the same.
We’re The Millers took a surprising second place after only dropping 32% to $17.7 million. This brings the comedy’s 12-day total to $69.5 million and it should be the fourth R-rated comedy to surpass $100 million this year along with The Hangover Part III, Identity Thief, and The Heat.
Last week’s #1 movie Elysium dropped to third with $13.6 million. The film’s 10-day total is $55.9 million which is much less than District 9 or even Oblivion at the same point.
This week’s predicted winner, Kick-Ass 2, came in fourth with only $13.5 million. This isn’t too far off from the original’s $19 million opening weekend, which had a slightly larger budget. However, the franchise’s inability to grow probably means that there won’t be a Kick-Ass 3.
Rounding out the top five is the animated Planes with $13.1 million. Other newcomers, Jobs and Paranoia also underperformed with $6.7 million and $3.5 million. This is a particularly tough blow for Paranoia as it had the largest budget of all the opening movies this weekend ($35 million).
Here is the weekend top ten (in millions), according to estimates:
1. The Butler – $25
2. We’re The Millers – $17.7
3. Elysium – $13.6
4. Kick-Ass 2 – $13.5
5. Planes – $13.1
6. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – $8.3
7. Jobs – $6.7
8. 2 Guns – $5.5
9. Smurfs 2 – $4.6
10. The Wolverine – $4.4