‘Butler’ beats boy band at N. American box office

Still from "The Butler" with Forest Whitaker.

Still from “The Butler” with Forest Whitaker.

LOS ANGELES: “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” retained the top slot at the North American box office over the US holiday weekend, edging out British boy band One Direction’s new movie, figures showed Tuesday.

The film, about the civil rights era as seen through the eyes of a black White House servant played by Forest Whitaker, was pipped to number one over the normal Friday-to-Sunday weekend by “One Direction: This is Us.”

The pop music movie took $15.8 million over three days, against $14.9 million for the Oscar-tipped drama, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

But over the four-day Labor Day weekend including Monday the film, which also stars Oprah Winfrey as the butler’s wife and has topped the box office for three weeks, grossed more than $20.2 million compared to “One Direction: This Is Us,” which netted $18.5 million on its debut.

The concert documentary about the tween sensation has generated lukewarm reviews in the United States, but with an estimated budget of around $10 million had been expected to deliver a hugely profitable box-office hit for Sony.

It is directed by Morgan Spurlock, best known for his 2004 fast-food expose “Super Size Me.”

In third place was raunchy adult comedy “We’re the Millers,” about drug smugglers posing as a suburban family, including Jennifer Aniston as a stripper, earning $16.3 million in theaters over four days.

The fourth spot was claimed by Disney’s animated film “Planes,” a spin-off from Pixar’s “Cars” franchise, which took in $10.9 million.

In fifth place was the comedy-drama “Instructions Not Included,” Eugenio Derbez’s movie about a Mexican playboy who is suddenly presented with the child from a previous liaison and forced to become a father. The movie took in $10.4 million.

Sixth place was occupied by science-fiction drama “Elysium”, the critically acclaimed blockbuster starring Matt Damon about wealthy humans living in an exclusive outer space colony after Earth is ruined.

The film, directed by South Africa’s Neill Blomkamp, added another $8.4 million to take its four-week total to $80.5 million.

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” a teen-romance demon thriller about a girl who discovers dark secrets from her family’s past, dropped four places to seventh with $7.1 million.

British action disaster comedy “The World’s End” also slipped down the rankings, falling to eighth place from fourth last week with $6.5 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” with $6.2 million and new entrant “Getaway”, the action thriller starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, with $5.6 million.


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