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Box Office: ‘Butler’ Impresses With $17 Mil, Staves Off Trio of Wide Releases

'Mortal Instruments' grosses meager $14 mil in five days; 'World's End' does well with $9 mil in three

A trio of counterprogramming wide releases, led by Sony-Screen Gems’ Y/A adaptation “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” with an estimated $14.1 million in five days,  were no match for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which fell a scant 31% in its second weekend, for a projected $17 million through Sunday. The Weinstein Co.-distributed pic has cumed north of $52 million and counting.

Overseas, Universal stomped away with the No. 1 pic this weekend as “Jurassic Park” 3D grossed an estimated $30 million, of which a dino-sized portion of $28.8 million came from China. The re-release, which launched domestically back in April, has cumed $44.5 million internationally, for a global tally of nearly $90 million.

Despite the lack of sizable Stateside openings, the domestic box office continued its year-over-year streak, up approximately 15% over 2012.

Focus Features’ apocalyptic-themed spoof comedy “The World’s End” did its best to keep the overall momentum going; the film debuted with a solid $8.9 million from only 1,549 theaters. By comparison, “City of Bones,” which bowed at more than twice that many locations, grossed a modest $9.3 million Friday-Sunday. Sony launched the teen girl-targeted film midweek hoping to attract teens still on summer break.

“I certainly think there is room for growth,” said Sony distribution prexy Rory Bruer. “(The film) was up 20% Friday-to-Saturday, which you normally wouldn’t expect from a teen girl film.”

Popular on Variety

SEE ALSO: How ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ Forces Americans to Confront Civil Rights

Also bowing this weekend, Lionsgate’s horror pic “You’re Next” grossed a meager $7.1 million in three days. Pic likely was affected adversely by coming after the summer’s previous horror offerings, “The Purge” and “The Conjuring.”

Like with “The Butler,” which is satisfying a summer-long drought of adult-skewing dramas, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Blue Jasmine” expanded to more than 1,200 screens this weekend, grossing a solid estimated $4.3 million. The Woody Allen pic has grossed so far nearly $15 million domestically.

SEE ALSO: Film Review: ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

In limited release, Cinedigm’s SXSW festival winner “Short Term 12” averaged a decent $15,034 from four locations in New York and L.A. The distrib plans to expand the film into the top 25 U.S. markets during the next few weeks.

Weinstein scored another notable coup this weekend, with martial arts biopic “The Grandmaster” averaging almost $19,000 from seven engagements, including Gotham’s AMC Empire 25 — the highest-grossing theater in North America — where the film impressively ranked fifth this weekend.

Demo derby

The holdover success of “The Butler” can be largely attributed to its broadening audience: Last weekend, the film earned 76% of its gross from auds over 35, while in its second frame, that share shrunk to 63%. Moreover, African-Americans contributed a weighty 39% of the pic’s opening; just 33% of its total this weekend came from blacks.

The film’s playability mirrors the hugely impressive stronghold that “The Help” had on the box office this time two years ago. That said, “The Help” dropped only 23% on its sophomore outing.

Another weekend player to target its core demo successfully was Focus’ “The World’s End.” The distrib kept the wide release relatively contained, screening the pic in college towns and at younger-skewing theaters.

“We had a strategy to go after that core,” said Focus distribution head Jack Foley. “(The opening) speaks to that strategy of attacking the hipster groups in certain core theaters.”

Not surprisingly, “Mortal Instruments” skewed 68% female, with 46% of its opening crowd under 21. The franchise starter, which was produced and financed by Constantin Films for $60 million, scored a decent ‘B+’ CinemaScore.

 

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2): $17.0; 3,100; $5,472; $52.3; -31%
  2. We’re the Millers (3): $13.5; 3,445; $3,919; $91.7; -25%
  3. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (1): $9.3; 3,118; $2,983; $14.1; —
  4. The World’s End (1): $8.9; 1,549; $5,773; $8.9; —
  5. Planes (3): $8.6; 3,378; $2,536; $59.6; -36%
  6. Elysium (3): $7.1; 2,913; $2,437; $69.1; -48%
  7. You’re Next (1): $7.1; 2,437; $2,893; $7.1; —
  8. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (3): $5.2; 2,730; $1,905; $48.3; -41%
  9. Blue Jasmine (5): $4.3; 1,283; $3,352; $14.8; +88%
  10. Kick-Ass 2 (2): $4.3; 2,945; $1,450; $22.4; -68%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. Jurassic Park 3D (21): $30.0; 11; 2,757; $44.5; $89.9; +999%
  2. Elysium (3): $20.0; 47; 4,560; $70.0; $139.1; -9%
  3. Monsters University (10): $19.6; 54; n/a; $424.8; $686.6; +227%
  4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (3): $18.4; 43; 7,468; $62.6; $110.9; -16%
  5. The Conjuring (6): $17.7; 37; 4,831; $88.4; $220.2; +113%

*in millions of $

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