Box Office: ‘The Butler’ Looks to Serve Up $18 Million Weekend

'You're Next,' 'Mortal Instruments' expected to gross in the low teens in three days

Can “The Butler” do it again? Despite three wide releases entering the market, the Weinstein Co.’s holdover “Lee DanielsThe Butler” looks to claim its second box office victory, after a solid $24 million opening last weekend. If the film holds comparably to past pics like “The Help,” it would gross approximately $18 million.

Though comedy holdover “We’re the Millers” is tracking ahead of new entries, among the weekend’s openers, Lionsgate’s horror pic “You’re Next” and Sony-Screen Gems’ “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” should do best with grosses in the low teens in three days. “City of Bones” launched Wednesday, earning $3 million. The adaptation of the young adult novel should collect around $18 million in five days.

Meanwhile, Focus Features’ spoof comedy “The World’s End,” from the creators of “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead,” is tracking in the high-single digits.

Other than “The Butler,” the one to watch this weekend will be Sony Pictures Classics’ “Blue Jasmine,” which expands to 1,283 locations. The film has gained considerable steam in the past few weeks having grossed north of $10 million domestically. Sony Classics really will test the pic’s playability in commercial plexes in smaller U.S. markets.

As of mid-morning Wednesday, “The Butler” was leading in advanced ticket sales, according to Fandango, with “Mortal Instruments” tracking second, followed by Warner Bros.-New Line’s “We’re the Millers.” That pic has been doing boffo business now in its third week, with more than $76 million domestically.

The holdover presence of “Butler” and “Millers” is consistent with how well-received adult dramas can play during this time of year, after a tentpole-laden summer.

In 2010, “The Help” successfully broadened its aud base to multiple demographics and ethnicities, falling just 23% in its second frame. By comparison, “The Help” bowed with just $2 million more than “The Butler” opening weekend.

Last weekend, Weinstein reported that “The Butler” earned 48% of its opening from Caucasians, with African-Americans contributing 39% of the gross.

Lionsgate targeted Hispanics and African-Americans with its marketing of “You’re Next,” as well as general horror fans by sponsoring TV programs popular with that group. Lionsgate acquired the film at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival but had to delay the release when Lionsgate bought Summit in January 2012.

“Mortal Instruments,” which Germany’s Constantin Film produced for $60 million, is based on the Cassandra Clare-penned novel about a teen girl (played by Lily Collins), who discovers she’s the descendant of a demon-killing family lineage. Sony acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film last year. Its sequel, “City of Ashes,” is slatted to begin production this fall, with Collins and helmer Harald Zwart returning.

Focus, meanwhile, anticipates “The World’s End” to gross around three times its opening, a multiple comparable to “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead.” Edgar Wright’s spoof, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is well-timed after the summer’s onslaught of apocalyptic-themed pics.

In limited release, the Weinstein Co. releases its Martin Scorsese-presented action film “The Grandmaster” at seven locations. Cinedigm, which normally specializes in multi-platform VOD releases, is bowing SXSW audience winner “Short Term 12” with a theatrical-only release in four locations.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • on day 3 of the London

    Barbara Broccoli, Richard Curtis Team With Passion Pictures, HTYT Films on Paralympics Documentary

    Oscar-Winning British production company Passion Pictures is teaming up with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and filmmaker Richard Curtis on a new feature documentary about the Paralympic Games. The project, currently titled “Harder Than You Think” brings together Passion’s John Battsek with producer Greg Nugent of HTYT Films, with Broccoli and Curtis both serving as [...]

  • Tribeca Film Insitute's PitchNY Program Now

    Tribeca Film Institute's Fourth Annual PitchNY Program Kicks Off (EXCLUSIVE)

    College students and recent alumni in New York can apply to Tribeca Film Institute’s 4th annual PitchNY program, an effort to help young, diverse directors, producers and writers fine-tune their pitching skills, as well as to connect them with entertainment industry professionals who will serve as mentors. On Thursday, Tribeca Film Institute announced that applications [...]

  • La-camarista

    ‘The Chambermaid’ Cleans Up in the U.S.

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Call it the “Roma” effect but Mexican newcomer Lila Aviles’ engaging portrait of a hotel servant, “The Chambermaid” (“La Camarista”) has found outstanding reception in the U.S. and in multiple territories, giving hope to other arthouse films from Latin America and elsewhere that seek distribution in “fortress America.” “‘Roma’ was a beautiful, brawny and [...]

  • Beograd 20.03.2012 Milutin Petrovic, reditelj, scenarista,

    Lost Script by ABC Studios Editor Turned Into Movie and Series 'Bad Blood'

    An ambitious new Serbian feature film and 10-part television series set in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century has emerged from a long lost script by a former editor at ABC Studios in New York City. Belgrade-based This and That Productions is producing “Bad Blood,” based on the works of renowned Serbian writer Borisav [...]

  • Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power,

    Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power, Responsibility of Cinema to ‘Provoke’

    Gael García Bernal said acting for the likes of Oscar winners Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón helped groom him for the director’s chair and praised cinema as “the only medium” that allows artists to “explore the gray areas” in unparalleled ways. “The world is so full of certainties now, and cinema is the one that [...]

  • Gareth Jones

    Samuel Goldwyn Films Takes North American Rights to Berlin Competition Title 'Mr Jones'

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights on Agnieska Holland’s “Mr. Jones,” it announced Thursday. The period thriller debuted in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Set on the eve of the Second World War, “Mr. Jones” stars James Norton as the eponymous character, an ambitious young journalist who travels to Moscow [...]

  • Live Action Mulan

    China Uses Disney's 'Mulan' to Attack Hong Kong Protests

    Although Twitter and Facebook have taken steps to stop what they say is a Chinese state-backed misinformation campaign about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, similar content from suspicious accounts continues to proliferate widely, some of it co-opting Disney‘s new “Mulan“ to try to discredit the demonstrators. At the same time, China‘s government-controlled media are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content