Weekend Box Office: ‘The Butler’ Serves Up $25 Million and #1 Finish, ‘Kick-Ass 2’ Got Its Ass Kicked

The Butler box office resultsMany are going to attribute the success of Lee Daniels’ The Butler to Oprah Winfrey‘s ability to grab headlines heading into this weekend, which I think takes away from the fact it’s a film people were genuinely interested in seeing and one that targets an underserved audience in our multiplexes across the country.

Opening to the tune of $25 million, The Butler is the #1 film in the land and come tomorrow I’ll be updating my Oscar predictions in a big way in all four of the acting categories… Guess which two actors are going to get a nice little bump after the reviews and opening weekend. Go on, guess…

A little disheartening, however, a patron attending a screening of The Butler going by the name of MsFlowersTweets on Twitter has detailed an incident that happened to her and her audience attending The Butler in Silver Spring, MD over the weekend. According to her series of tweets, tickets were double validated and then upon entering the theater they “were greeted by an actual police officer who herded traffic in one direction” and after entering the theater there was “another police office inside the theater facing patrons.” The officers reportedly faced what MsFlowersTweets describes as an “almost entirely black audience” throughout the duration of the entire film. I don’t expect this story will blow over immediately.

On a lighter note, The Butler enjoyed an “A” CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which would suggest it’s going to holdover well next weekend and will likely do good business over the course of the week. The Weinsteins will be very happy with this result as it offers them a chance for a lot of Oscar talk right now, not to mention the talk that will be generated once they release the DVD and Blu-ray, which they can now wait and decide if they need to do that before or after nominations are announced. Not so coincidentally, The Help enjoyed similar success back in 2011 in a similar time frame. That DVD/Blu-ray was released in mid-December and it went on to earn four Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) and one win.

Kick-Ass 2 trailerLooking over Kick-Ass 2 at #1, but wow was that a whiff as the sequel to the 2010 comic adaptation brought in only $13.5 million, $6.3 million less than the lackluster opening for the original. Readers that went low on the predictions for this one will be happy to know that if they see their name below the results won’t likely change with actuals, because no one went this low.

The film carried a “B+” CinemaScore, which means you’re probably going to see the standard drop-off for this one if not slightly higher given the front-loaded nature of films of this sort, but unless overseas markets and DVD/Blu-ray sales are huge, don’t expect Kick-Ass 3 any time soon… or ever.

As a result of Kick-Ass 2‘s demise, the R-rated comedy We’re the Millers ended up with the second position with a fantastic holdover. Dropping only 33% in its second weekend the Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis comedy scored $17.7 million and is now guaranteed to cross the $100 million mark. This should all but guarantee Horrible Bosses 2 gets put on the fast track and I wouldn’t be surprised if WB starts brain-storming ways to sequelize Millers, not that it would be too hard.

Kick-Ass 2 currently sits in fourth position, but it may get a bump to third should Elysium‘s 54% drop end up not being so severe as last week’s #1 tumbled to the tune of a $13.6 million second weekend. Ouch.

Unfortunately Jobs wasn’t as successful as its subject matter as the Ashton Kutcher-led biopic managed a middling $6.7 million, which isn’t a complete disaster given the $12 million production budget, but Open Road really marketed the hell out of this one and was surely hoping for something at least in the double digits.

Finally, the Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Liam Hemsworth thriller, Paranoia, became the worst wide opener of the summer bringing in just $3.5 million to go with a “C+” CinemaScore to go along with its 4% RottenTomatoes score. It finished 13th, just ahead of Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, which was in 2,230 fewer theaters and managed a massive $2.3 million.

Next week sees the release of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Wednesday with The World’s End and the horror You’re Next opening wide on Friday. Those three will definitely be among the four you’ll be predicting next Thursday and I wonder if Laremy will throw a small one in there or ask for second weekend Butler predictions. The suspense is killing me!

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