Box Office Preview: Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' Likely to Stay on Top in Second Weekend

"The World's End"
"The World's End"
 Focus Features

Another crowded summer weekend at the box office will most likely allow second-week holdover Lee Daniels' The Butler to claim the top spot over several newcomers, including horror pic You're Next, supernatural YA adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and boozy comedy The World's End.

The Weinstein Co. release topped the chart last weekend, with $24.6 million as it bowed in 2,933 theaters. The Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey starrer, which earned a coveted A Cinemascore, is projected to bring in $16 million in its second weekend.

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Of the newcomers, You're Next and Mortal Instruments should both open in the low double digits. The Lionsgate horror pic You're Next, about a family whose vacation home is attacked by animal-mask-wearing assailants, is on track for a $12 million debut. Lionsgate acquired the film -- which is opening in 2,435 theaters -- at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, but its release was delayed after the Lionsgate/Summit merger.

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on Cassandra Clare's popular YA book series, opened Wednesday, Aug. 21, with a tepid $3 million. Starring Lily Collins as a demon-hunting teen, the supernatural pic has the widest opening of the three new films -- in 3,118 theaters -- but is on its way to a soft weekend in the low teens, around $15 million.

Germany's Constantin Films produced the $60 million film, with Screen Gems handling U.S. distribution. Plans are in motion to start shooting the second film in the franchise in September.

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Edgar Wright's The World's End, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is only opening in 1,548 theaters and should earn a respectable $8 million in its domestic debut. Following a group of friends who reunite for an epic bar crawl only to discover that their hometown has been infested with supernatural beings, the film is being distributed in the U.S. by Focus Features. Written by Wright and Pegg, the sci-fi comedy is considered the third in the British filmmaker's series, after Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).

Warner Bros. raunchy comedy We're the Millers, which grabbed the No. 2 spot with $17.8 million in its second week, could once again make its way into the top five films of the week. The comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis has already brought in $76.3 million domestically, and could earn in the low double digits in its third week.

Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett, is expanding to 1,237 theaters this weekend, which could mean another strong showing for the drama. The film, which opened in limited release July 26, has already earned $9.4 million domestically and could bring in another $8 million this weekend.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford

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