THE BUTLER

Hat tip to Rian Johnson for the headline. This weekend audiences didn’t seem to care much about any of the new movies besides Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which managed to exceed expectations, for the most part (we’ll get to that). And while there were not high expectations for films like Paranoia, who thought it would finish outside the top ten? (it’s #13)

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 Lee Daniels’ The Butler $25,010,000 $8,527 $25,010,000
2 We’re the Millers $17,780,000 (-32.7) $5,347 $69,513,000
3 Elysium $13,600,000 (-54.4) $4,141 $55,914,000
4 Kick-Ass 2 $13,568,000 $4,615 $13,568,000
5 Planes $13,141,000 (-40.9)
$3,536 $45,090,000
6 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $8,375,000 (-41.8) $2,719 $38,904,000
7 Jobs $6,700,000 $2,814 $6,700,000
8 2 Guns $5,572,000 (-50.5) $2,255 $59,221,000
9 The Smurfs 2 $4,600,000 (-50.7) $1,958 $56,912,000
10 The Wolverine $4,425,000 (-44.9) $2,150 $120,458,000

First things first: Dear Variety, Deadline Hollywood and The Hollywood Reporter,

You all made predictions about the box office based on Friday’s mid-day numbers “The Butler opens to $30 Million” etc. The final numbers are in, and you were totally wrong. There’s nothing wrong with predicting, but if you think you can gauge how the weekend is going to go by the stats from a half day of some reported numbers, look at this weekend and STFU. The problem with what you’re doing isn’t only that you’re wrong, off by five million dollars wrong, but you’re setting up expectations to boot. The Butler did open to less than $30 Million, but on Thursday most sites were suggesting it could be neck and neck with Kick-Ass 2. That didn’t happen, did it? You guys are making meteorologists look good.

Anyway, The Butler is looking good, but next weekend will tell its tale as it needs to find legs. It’s one thing if the movie opens slightly better than expected, but the film needs to get to a hundred million plus to be taken seriously as an Oscar contender. Much like The Help, it has to prove to be a popular favorite (as it were) to get attention because if it is a hit, they can’t ignore it. There’s no stand out supporting performance, though if they put Oprah Winfrey in the supporting category, she could win (best actress will likely be too crowded). But if it tapers out at $60 Million or so, then — even with the Weinsteins behind it — the academy will be more interested in something else. For whatever reason.

Kick-Ass 2 was probably hurt by reviews. People like the first one, whereas the majority negative opinions may have actually done some damage here. But just as likely is the fact that the first one had novelty, but wasn’t all that well loved, and it only made $48 Million domestic. Unfortunately for the sequel, the bottom’s going to fall out next weekend and it’s probably going to peter out somewhere around $30 Million. It was cheap, so it probably won’t lose money, but don’t expect a trilogy at this point.

We’re the Millers is on track to make a quiet hundred million, while Elysium is likely to stop before it hits $80 Million. The former will have made most of its money through domestic, while the latter could be saved by good international numbers. It doesn’t look like Elysium has opened everywhere around the world yet, so it’s possible that it could get to $200 Million internationally, and get to around $300 Million worldwide. But that picture seems let go.

Planes didn’t collapse, so we could see $60-$70 out of the picture, while Percy Jackson will be lucky to get over $60 Million. Perhaps it too will be saved by overseas.

Jobs and Paranoia. Done.

Reality Check: Though I went high on Kick-Ass 2 and low on The Butler, I was right about what I said about them. So I’ll take that as a win.

What did you watch this weekend?