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Weekend Box Office: The Butler Repeats, Three Newcomes Fail to Crack $10 Million

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By Chris Kavan - 08/25/13 at 09:10 PM CT

It may not have been a shining crown for any of the three new wide-release films this weekend, but overall the box office posted a nice 10% increase from the same weekend last year. It really comes as no surprise as the three new films all targeted a pretty specific audience (two of which are fickle and one of which is very specialized). Don't look for the coming weeks to be much different as there is little to be excited about on the near horizon.


After making a nice splash at the box office in first place last weekend, Lee Daniels' The Butler has just a 31% drop (in comparison, The Help dropped 23% while 42 had a 36% second-week drop earlier in the year). The $17 million helped The Butler rise to a new $52.2 million total. With little in the way of dramatic competition, a $75 million total is in the bag and even $100 million isn't out of the questions depending on how well it can hold up.


For the third straight weekend, We're the Millers took the second place spot with $13.5 million (off just 25%). That helped give it a new $91.7 million total - and it will have no problem breaking the $100 million mark. That makes the film the highest-grossing August 2013 release and shows that comedy isn't dead, especially when you have an interesting premise and the talent to match.


Out of all the new releases, Mortal Instruments wound up the best of the bunch with $9.3 million for the weekend ($14.05 including the early Wednesday premiere). That opening is above Beautiful Creatures ($7.6 million) but below The Host ($10.6 million) - and continues the trend of middling, disappointing returns for the tween lit genre. Considering a sequel is already in the works, it should be interesting to see if the rather tepid response will put a hold on those plans. Ever since Twilight and Hunger Games took off - every studio is looking for the next big thing. It turns out, you need more than a popular novel to be successful.


You know the people who turned out for The World's End are pretty much limited to people who have enjoyed the "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy" up to this point (that is Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). Considering that is a pretty specialized audience, the $8.942 million it took in for 4th place has to be considered pretty good. That is the highest opening for Edgar Wright and crew (though both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz opened in fewer than 1,000 theaters compared to the 1500+ for World's End). The B+ is encouraging and in the end, The World's End should end up as the highest-grossing film as well, beating the $23.6 million set by Hot Fuzz - though it most likely won't top it by too much.


After three weeks in theaters, Planes dipped 36% and earned an additional $8.5 million, raising its total to $59.5 million. The one-time destined for straight-to-video obscurity is fast approaching the $75 million mark and the sequel is all but assured given its modest $50 million budget.

Outside the top 10: Perhaps horror movie fans were feeling a bit fatigued as You're Next, the latest from Adam Wingard, opened to just over $7 million (7th place). That total represents the worst opening for a nationwide horror film in 2013 - beating out the likes of Dark Skies ($8.2 million) and The Last Exorcism: Part II ($7.7 million). Considering I thought this looked a bit better than your standard generic horror pic, audiences only gave it a B- - meaning it should suffer the standard horror movie drop (60% or so) in its second weekend and a sub $20 million total is likely at this point. Still, I'll make a point to look out for it, as I think Wingard has talent.

Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine finally earned a wide releases status, opening in over 1000 theater and jumping from 14th to 9th place in the process. The $4.3 million it took in raised its total to nearly $15 million. While it isn't likely to catch Midnight in Paris, it should have enough appeal to top Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Match Point (both of which stand at $23.2 million).

The biggest drop of the week came from Kick-Ass 2, which took a massive 68% slam and dropped from fifth to 10th place. The $4.27 million brought its total to $22.4 million and it is obvious that toxic word-of-mouth will mean this sequel is going to have a quick exit from theaters.

Next week has two rather generic-looking films - one thriller, Closed Circuit and another action/crime hybrid Getaway. It also sees the Morgan Spurlock-helmed concert documentary One Direction: This is Us. I have to say if this week didn't see anyone beating The Butler, I would say the coming week's films stand even less chance.


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