August 18, 2013

EARLY WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: “The Butler” Stays In Charge


Preliminary figures at Deadline give THE BUTLER (Weinstein) a commanding victory over its competition.  Very impressively, on Saturday Butler reportedly increased its take by about 10% over Friday, putting it on target for a $23-25M weekend (The Weinstein Company, which has never been shy about aggressively estimating its weekends, could make a run for the $26M earned by The Help in its first weekend, which probably wouldn’t stand up in final numbers on Monday).  That suggests the movie is expanding beyond a frontloaded core audience, and since historical dramas often draw older audiences that don’t come out on opening weekend, it could enjoy a steady run for several weeks.

KICK-ASS 2 (Universal), on the other hand, slumped by more than 20% on Saturday to $4.2M, and may end up with only a $12.5M weekend, a dreadful 35% below the original movie’s $19.8M opening.  (The first Kick-Ass only dropped 6% on its second day of release.)  No one could quite figure out why a second Kick-Ass was even being made, since the first was only a modest success–but there won’t be any mystery about a third in the series, because it won’t exist.

JOBS (Open Road) dropped about 8% on Saturday and PARANOIA (Relativity) actually increased slightly by about 7%, but at their tiny numbers, those small fluctuations won’t matter much–they’re already done, with respective weekends of $6.5M and $3.5M.

It was no contest among holdovers, either, as WE’RE THE MILLERS (Warners) held beautifully, down just over 30% from last weekend and well on its way to topping $100M, another thorn in the side of Jennifer Aniston’s haters.  ELYSIUM (TriStar/Sony) fell by at least 55% from its start, and won’t get beyond $80M in the US, while PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (20th) dropped around 45% (not as good as it sounds, since the movie opened on the prior Wednesday), and will be lucky to reach $60M.  Those two cost more than double (in the case of Elysium, almost triple) the production budget of We’re the Millers. PLANES (Disney) was down 40% from last weekend, and might get to $75M.

Among longer runs, 2 GUNS (Universal) was down 50%, while THE SMURFS 2 (Sony) and THE WOLVERINE (20th) both dropped around 45%.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."