Box Office: ‘The Butler’ Serves Seconds in Number One Spot; ‘Mortal Instruments’ Disappoints

By Will Ashton

The Butler (2013) Forest Whitaker (Screengrab)

The new Lee Daniels film The Butler made a surprising splash at the box office last week when it earned the number one spot. And, sure enough, its good fortunes continued this weekend, as it returned for another week on top.

The film earned $17 million on its pre-Labor Day weekend, making its domestic total $52.2 million thus far. With a budget of $30 million, the film appears to be a hit for the Weinsteins.

The newcomers this weekend don’t seem to be as fortune, however. Which is a given shame, at least for most, as a majority of these films were quite well-acclaimed. Leading the newcomers was the next young adult “teen sensation” The Mortal Instrument: City of Bones, which was expected to make a splash this week, despite its tepid reviews. But the film only opened in third this weekend, earning a mild $9.3 million.

Since the film had an early Wednesday opening, it was able to gain $14 million total. But, given its $60 million budget, it looks like it’s another dud franchise starter for Hollywood. So, if fans were getting excited to see City of Ashes come to the big screen, they may want to level their anticipation. But, hey, if Percy Jackson can get a sequel, maybe Mortal Instruments can too. Speaking of which, where did you head off to Percy? Hello?

Meanwhile, the final piece of the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy, The World’s End, made its U.S. debut over the weekend, and opened in fourth place with $8.9 million. With a budget of $20 million, this one shouldn’t be hurting too much, and will probably be making back its budget in no time. But considering the fact that it’s a comedy that’s actually good, while We’re the Millers holds onto second place with $13.5 million, is a little disheartening.

The final wide-release newcomer for the weekend was the critically-acclaimed horror film You’re Next, which has been buzzed and raved about since its festival debuts back in 2011. But it seemed to have not scared up as big of a box office release, as the movie opened in seventh place with, appropriately, $7 million.

On the brighter side, Woody Allen’s fantastic new movie Blue Jasmine got a wider release over the weekend, and was able to move up to ninth place with $4.3 million. It’s quickly becoming one of the highest grossing indie movies of the summer with a domestic total of $14.3 million.

Next week sees Closed Circuit opening on Wednesday, along with Getaway and One Direction: This is Us coming out on Friday. I have a hunch that the One Direction movie is going to win the weekend, but we’ll see. All I know is every time I hear about the movie Getaway, I have the Arrested Development song stuck in my head.

Check out the full box office below:

1.  Lee Daniels’ The Butler $17,018,000 $52.2
2.  We’re the Millers $13,500,000 $91.7
3.  The Mortal Instruments $9,300,000 $14
4.  The World’s End $8,942,000 $8.9
5.  Planes $8,567,000 $59.5
6.  Elysium $7,100,000 $69
7.  You’re Next $7,050,000 $7
8.  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $5,200,000 $48.3
9.  Blue Jasmine $4,300,119 $14.7
10.  Kick-Ass 2 $4,300,000 $22.4
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