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Weekend B.O. Aug. 23-25 (‘The Butler’ Does It Again And A Question)

Box Office
by Sergio
August 25, 2013 12:21 PM
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The Butler

Once again Lee Daniels’ The Butler was the No.1 film this weekend with $17 million and a total-to-date B.O. gross of over $52 million, and, once again, I predicted it. Can’t say I’m surprised considering that every single person I’ve talked to so far who has seen the film has told me that the audience was emotional and crying by the end of it.

And with only one limited release from Focus Features scheduled to open this Friday, The Butler is almost certain to be No.1 for the third weekend in a row next week.

That says to me that the film has incredible word-of-mouth, which means some very long B.O.  legs, and is poised to do easily $100 million domestically. What it does beyond that is anyone’s guess.

If that happens, it would make Lee Daniels the first African-American director in a while who’s made a film that has reached the golden $100 million milestone domestically.

Which made me wonder, what other African American directors have done that? First one who comes to mind is Tim Story, for sure. Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen did just a shade under $99 million, so let's cut him a little slack and say he did.

Sidney Poitier’s 1980 comedy Stir Crazy with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder made $101 million, which, back in 1980, was a staggering amount and an extremely rare achievement.  And if you adjust that in  2013 dollars, that would be an unbelievable $307 million today.

What other AA directors can you name? I know there must be others. It’s just too early in the morning to think of some right now. Help me out.

And I know who you’re thinking of.... Tyler Perry,  but nope. The closest he’s ever gotten was $90.5 million for 2009’s Medea’s Goes To Jail. Close, but no cigar, and he’s never remotely come that close before or since.

The Twilight/Hunger Games wanna-be, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, pretty much tanked, while  Edgar Wright’s The World’s End did solid business, puling in $9 million on just only 1500 screens, which means Focus Features should have had more confidence in the film and opened it up wider.

We’re the Millers has become a genuine summer sleeper, despite predictions from B.O. analysts that it would be a flop. It is going to easily sail past $100 million and go well beyond that.

Meanwhile, the horror/slasher film You’re Next, which was thought to be The Butler’s major competitor this weekend, underperformed, coming in seventh.

1) Lee Daniels' The Butler Wein. $17,018,000 Total: $52,275,000 
2) We're the Millers WB $13,500,000  Total: $91,740,000 
3) The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones SGem $9,300,000 Total: $14,051,000 
4) The World's End Focus $8,942,000 
5) Planes BV $8,567,000 Total: $59,591,000 
6) Elysium TriS $7,100,000 Total: $69,054,000 
7) You're Next LGF $7,050,000 
8) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Fox $5,200,000 Total: $48,346,000  
9) Blue Jasmine SPC $4,300,000 Total:  $14,799,000 
10) Kick-Ass 2 Uni. $4,270,000 Total: $22,423,000 
11) 2 Guns Uni. $3,387,000 Total: $65,382,000 
12) Jobs ORF $3,001,000 Total: $12,144,000 
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  • Blackman | August 27, 2013 2:17 AMReply

    This is a FAILED THREAD!!

    TWO posters beneath my post just pointed out how ERRONEOUS your argument for Black Directors grossing more than 100 million.

    It is obvious. There are NO REAL FACTS to be gleaned from the writers of this blog. Only social media type stuff.

    Cheap shit.

  • Carl | August 27, 2013 3:18 AM

    Then take your whining bitch ass the fuck out of here and don't let the door hit you in the ass.

  • Karen | August 26, 2013 2:49 PMReply

    Spike Lee did $179 mil with Inside Man

  • Fritz | August 26, 2013 10:20 AMReply

    John Singleton with 2Fast 2 Furious.

  • Donella | August 26, 2013 9:14 AMReply

    I think Closed Circuit is the only movie opening wide next week. It looks to me like a suspense thriller cross between Paranoia and Eagle Eye.

    The Butler should do well this weekend as well and then the foreign release begins.

    Reginald Hudlin's Boomerang earned $131 million worldwide.

  • FactChecker | August 25, 2013 8:04 PMReply

    In addition to the strong box office numbers I believe what's also an important piece of Tambay's post is how this particular film has now catapulted Daniels' into a different category as a director. The word of mouth, huge publicity push, solid story and writing by Danny Strong, along with a strong ensemble cast, AND all of the articles, documentary video, and the book, all help to make this the must-see movie, as the summer comes to a close.

    I think the average moviegoer will take a closer at Daniels' next project. He's now no longer, solely, viewed as an indie filmmaker. He's crossed into the big-time -- and moreso than any of the other, recent, directors that Tambay mentions whose films grossed $90 million or more -- in terms of audiences now being able to associate a film with a director (ala Spielberg, Howard, Cameron).

    And, if Oprah wants to produce or star-in, another film, in the next few years, with the right project that could only help her brand as well.

    Additionally, Forest Whitaker's resume has been helped, tremendously, by this film. There's no denying that his acting was on point. I'm calling it right now, both he, and Oprah, will get lead actor/actress nods for their portrayals. Forest had fallen off the radar for many of us. Honestly, the last performance of his that I saw, which was memorable is "The Crying Game." ... And I don't even have a memory of him winning the Oscar for "The King of Scotland." I didn't see the movie as it held no interest for me.

  • sosgemini | August 26, 2013 1:19 PM

    Oprah will be pushed as a supporting role and she's currently the safest bet for a nomination per Oscar pundits. Take that however you want but to say she has no chance in hell of a nomination is against the grain at this point.

  • Donella | August 26, 2013 8:45 AM

    I've never seen either Forest or Oprah miss a trick in performance. They're both solid at their jobs.

  • NO BRAINER | August 26, 2013 3:54 AM

    I'll be sure to call you out because Oprah will not get nominated.

  • CareyCarey | August 25, 2013 10:21 PM

    Surely you jest? Forrest Whitaker's most memorable performance was his portrayal of an IRA soildier in The Crying Game (1992) and you HAVE NOT seen "The Last King of Scotland" because it had no interest for you? But yet, you're all giddy over his performance as a butler? Geez.... surely you can explain that odd set of conundrums?

    But it's possible your prediction of Whitaker getting an Oscar nod might come true and I'll tell you why.

    1. History says white folks love black characters who reinforce negative images of blacks and those who reinforce their alleged superiority (i.e., maids, dope smoking crooked cop, chauffeur, flip flop girl... and in this case, a butler).

    2. The movie allowed whites to revisit images of them shouting *NIGGER*, shooting blacks in the head, rapping their women, spitting on them, beating them bloody and throwing them in jail... ALL without dire consequences -- to the white man.

    3. The movie also delivered the propaganda message that the Black Panthers were an EVIL group that would lead one to self destruction, including disbandment from one's family. Wouldn't want to encourage black pride and unity, would we?

    4. The lead black female character was a lush who gave her love away, outside the home.

    5. The butler was a passive black man who disagreed with his son who was protesting against the mistreatment of blacks. Because of that disagreement, he and his son didn't talk for years. But the butler finally saw the light and had a change of heart. He quit his job, not to join arms in protests for the rights of blacks in the United States, but to fight for the rights of South Africans.

    6. That good ol' passive black man, staying in his place with quiet dignity, was thrown a bone. He was invited to the White House during working hours. Also, he was thrown another bone by getting the last laugh on the head of the white house staff. Oh yeah, that was so funny, after 30 damn years his pay was increased to that of the white workers. Chuckle-chuckle-chuckle, that scene was so cute.

    So yep, you're right Factchecker, the facts do not lie, white folks love them some butlers, maids and chauffeurs, and I am beginning to believe you're a white guy. Is that true?

  • sthn | August 25, 2013 9:29 PM

    Sounds good. Oprah should consider that serial killer script Lee was talking about. Tanya and the rest of us would enjoy it.

  • Teofilo Colon Jr | August 25, 2013 4:03 PMReply

    How could you forget the $157 million that the comedy SCARY MOVIE did? It was directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans and that was pretty big news as I recall when it was released in 2000.

    Teofilo Colon Jr.

  • JP | August 25, 2013 8:45 PM

    Isn't that the record for a Black director too? Isn't it the record for largest opening weekend as well?

  • A.J. | August 25, 2013 6:26 PM

    Tell 'em Teo!

  • Teofilo Colon Jr | August 25, 2013 4:02 PMReply

    How could you forget the $157 million that the comedy SCARY MOVIE did? It was directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans and that was pretty big news as I recall when it was released in 2000.

    Teofilo Colon Jr.

  • arnold drummond | August 25, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    The Italian Job/F. Gary Gray did $100 million, right??

  • NO BRAINER | August 25, 2013 1:24 PMReply

    And still the movie is weak...

  • Nigs4Sale | August 28, 2013 2:32 AM

    I see you still ain't learnt yo lesson from last time!!! Take that "er" off yo username, stop sippin' on the haterade, and keep it moving!!! Bye, BEW BEW!!!

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