Thanks in part to strong word of mouth, Lee Daniels' The Butler had no problem outpacing this weekend's lackluster wide releases to remain in first place. The awards season hopeful from The Weinstein Company starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey grossed an estimated $17.02 million, which was down a very healthy 31 percent from last weekend. The Butler has grossed a strong $52.27 million through ten days of release. That places the film a slim 3 percent behind the $53.75 million ten-day start of 42 earlier this year (which fell 36 percent to gross $17.72 million in its second weekend of release). With the Labor Day holiday weekend around the corner, The Butler is set to move ahead of the pace of 42 come next weekend.
Also holding up very well this weekend was Warner's We're the Millers. The break-out comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis was down only 25 percent from last weekend to remain in second place with an estimated $13.5 million. We're the Millers has grossed an impressive $91.74 million through 19 days of release, leaving it just $8.26 million away from reaching the $100 million mark. Thanks to even stronger holding power, We're the Millers is running 9 percent ahead of the $83.85 million 19-day take of 2008's Tropic Thunder. Like The Butler, We're the Millers should continue to hold up very well next weekend with aid from the Labor Day holiday frame.
This weekend's top wide release was Sony's The Mortal Instruments. However, the latest attempt at establishing a young adult franchise was arguably this weekend's most disappointing new wide release with an estimated third place take of $9.3 million. That places the five-day start for the Lily Collins led The Mortal Instruments at $14.05 million. On the heels of the disappointing performances of Beautiful Creatures and The Host earlier this year, audiences are once again indicating that they aren't ready for another potential young adult franchise at this point in time. The Mortal Instruments is running 22 percent ahead of the $11.49 million five-day start of Beautiful Creatures (which opened on a Thursday) and 24 percent behind the $18.57 million five-day start of 2010's Vampires Suck.
The Mortal Instruments did have a solid estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.98 to 1, though that ratio was obviously inflated from the Wednesday opening. The film's B+ CinemaScore rating was also solid. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (68 percent) and a bit towards moviegoers over 21 (54 percent).
Focus' The World's End, the latest Edgar Wright directed comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, debuted in fourth with an estimated $8.94 million. Of this weekend's new wide releases, The World's End came closest to opening in line with pre-release expectations. With a modest location count of 1,549, The World's End had a per-location average of $5,773, which represented the strongest per-location average of any film in wide release this weekend. Compared to previous films starring Pegg and Frost, The World's End opened 53 percent ahead of the $5.85 million start of 2007's Hot Fuzz (which opened in 825 locations) and 31 percent behind the $13.04 million debut of 2011's Paul (which opened in 2,802 locations).
The World's End was fairly front-loaded this weekend. After opening with $3.5 million on Friday, the film fell 11 percent on Saturday to take in $3.11 million and is estimated to fall 25 percent on Sunday to gross $2.33 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.55 to 1. The film did earn an encouraging B+ rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for The World's End skewed towards male moviegoers (58 percent) and towards moviegoers under 30 (54 percent).
You're Next debuted in seventh place with an estimated $7.05 million. Despite strong critical reviews and late August typically being a good time to unleash horror films at the box office, the low-budget Lionsgate release was unable to catch on with audiences this weekend and debuted below expectations. The film opened 17 percent below the $8.53 million start of 2011's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. You're Next will hope that its strong reviews will help transfer into good holding power for its genre going forward, though a B- CinemaScore rating and an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of just 2.37 to 1 (after opening with $2.97 million on Friday) aren't strong early signs for the film.
Sony Pictures Classics' Blue Jasmine had a solid expansion this weekend with an estimated take of $4.3 million. Playing in 1,283 locations this weekend; The Woody Allen directed film starring Cate Blanchett earned a per-location average of $3,352 for the frame. While Blue Jasmine couldn't match the $5.83 million 2011's Midnight in Paris grossed when it expanded to 944 locations, it did outpace the $3.11 million last year's To Rome with Love grossed when it expanded to 806 locations. The 31-day total for Blue Jasmine stands at $14.69 million.
Holdovers Planes and Elysium took fifth and sixth places respectively with estimated grosses of $8.57 million and $7.1 million. Disney's Planes was down 36 percent from last weekend, while Elysium fell 48 percent. Respective 17-day totals stand at $59.59 million for Planes and at $69.05 million for Elysium; with Planes having the more impressive domestic performance of the two when taking costs and expectations into account.