Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the Weinstein Co. film (with the long name) about a black man who served in the White House under eight presidents, led the weekend box office at U.S. and Canadian theaters with sales of $24.6 million.
Kick-Ass 2, a Universal Pictures film about teen crime fighters, collected $13.3 million to place fifth, researcher Hollywood.com said. Jobs, a low-budget film about the late Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, opened with $6.7 million for seventh place.
The Butler surpassed the $22.5 million forecast by researcher Boxoffice.com, helped by favorable reviews for the performances of Forest Whitaker in the feature role of Cecil Gaines, based on the real-life White House servant Eugene Allen, and Oprah Winfrey, who plays his wife.For Weinstein, it’s the studio’s widest release since Scary Movie 5 in April, opening in more than 2,900 theaters.
The Butler cost about $30 million to produce. The picture is loosely based on the real-life story of Allen, who served presidents from Dwight Eisenhower, played by Robin Williams, to Ronald Reagan, and whose life is used to frame turning points in American history, including the civil rights movement. It also features Jane Fonda and Alan Rickman as Nancy and Ronald Reagan and was directed by Lee Daniels.
Kick-Ass 2, a sequel to a 2010 movie, collected $10 million less than the $24 million projection of Boxoffice.com and almost a third less than the weekend sales of the first film. The movie, from Comcast Corp.’s studio division, opened amid poor reviews and was criticized for its violence in a June Twitter posting by Jim Carrey, one of the stars.
The R-rated picture was made for $28 million, according to Box Office Mojo. It features Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Moretz as gun-toting teenage crime fighters.
While Jobs, from Open Road Films, beat Columbia Pictures’ version to theaters with its film on the Apple legend, it has received criticism that its portrayal isn’t factual.
Starring Ashton Kutcher, the film chronicles the rise of Apple, the ouster of Jobs, his life away from Apple and his eventual return, sparking one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of corporate America.
The film, which opened in 2,381 theaters, was made for $8.5 million and was projected to take $10 million last weekend by Boxoffice.com.
Columbia’s version, based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography and slated to be written and directed by Academy Award-winner Aaron Sorkin, doesn’t have a release date.
Paranoia, the fourth new release, collected $3.5 million to place 13th. The movie stars Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman as corporate titans who will stop at nothing to destroy each other’s empires. The film, from Relativity Media LLC, was projected to take in $6 million, the estimate of Boxoffice.com.
Among returning films, the Warner Bros. comedy We’re the Millers took in almost $18 million to finish No. 2 in its second week of release. Elysium fell to third place with $13.6 million in receipts.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 5 percent, to $120.5 million, from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Attendance year to date is down 3 percent, while revenue has risen less than a percentage point.
MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 08/23/2013
Print Headline: The Butler cudgels Kick-Ass 2