The Butler Forest Whitaker

The Weinstein Co.’s latest Oscar hopeful “The Butler” is soaring this weekend, outpacing pre-weekend expectations with new three-day predictions pegging it around $27 million.

The biopic, based on the life of long-time White House butler Eugene Allen, took in about $8.3 million Friday and cost about as much to produce as it’s now expected to make this weekend. “Butler’s” in terrific position because thoughtful, adult-skewing fare like it tends to have the longest legs in these months leading up to awards season, with the potential to reopen in January if nods favor them.

Off to less auspicious beginnings, Universal’s “Kick Ass 2″ earned $5.8 million Friday, likely its highest single day of the weekend, and is looking at a three-day total in the mid-teens.

This is only slightly less than its predecessor’s $19.8 million bow, so the sequel is not far off the mark, but instead of taking first as insiders expected, “Kick Ass 2″ is now looking at third behind Warner Bros.’ “We’re the Millers” when the dust settles on Sunday.

Open Road bowed “Jobs,” biopic of the late co-founder of Apple, Friday to $2.6 million. Despite big buzz for the Ashton Kutcher-starrer, “Jobs” looks like it will only make just north of $7 million in three days.

And Relativity opened Liam Hemsworth vehicle “Paranoia” to just more than $1 million Friday. The film was financed and produced by IM Global, Reliance and Demarest films for $35 million.

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