BOX OFFICE 8/16-8/18: The Butler Soars, Kick-Ass Crumbles

After a summer of world-ending disaster spectacles, audiences proved ready for some adult fare, which Lee Daniel's The Butler served up accordingly. The $25 million bow is right in line with the debut of The Help two years ago on this date, and time will tell if The Butler will go on to match that film's extraordinary $169 million total. It played to a similar audience- over 60% female and 76% over the age of 25, and it received an "A" Cinemascore, so it's certainly possible. Either way it's a success, given the film's $30 million budget, but with its reputation as the first big Oscar contender of the year, look for it to hold on strong.

The three other new releases this weekend were not as successful, with Kick-Ass 2 delivering a measly $13.5 million for a fourth place finish, significantly less than the original's nearly $20 million opening 4 years ago. It got a "B+" from the crowd, but it doesn't look likely to sustain itself to much of a total. Meanwhile the Ashton Kutcher biopic Jobs opened in 7th with a dismal $6.7 million and the Harrison Ford-Gary Oldman thriller Paranoia completely bombed, not even cracking to top 10 with $3.5 million from its 2500 theater release. Ouch. All of these movies were critically slaughtered by the way, and audiences seemed to agree for once.

Top 5: 

  1. Lee Daniels' The Butler- $25 million
  2. We're the Millers- $17.8 million
  3. Elysium- $13.6 million
  4. Kick-Ass 2- $13.5 million
  5. Planes- $13.1 million

We're the Millers had an impressive hold from last weekend, dropping just 33%, and solidifying its chances at crossing $100 million, but Elysium fell 54% and likely won't reach that marker. Planes has $45 million total so far, which isn't terrible for a film that was originally headed straight to DVD, despite the critical savaging that one took as well. Next week, The World's End faces off against the new horror comedy You're Next, and the latest young adult fantasy novel to film adaptation The Mortal instruments.