Box Office Report: 'The Butler' Races Towards $50 Mil Mark; 'World's End' Solid

Historical drama Lee Daniels' The Butler continued to serve up victory Friday as it topped the domestic box office with $4.8 million, beating three new films and putting it on course for a $15 million-plus weekend.

Better yet, The Weinstein Co. release -- headlining Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey -- will cross the $50 million mark sometime Sunday to become Daniels' top-grossing film, surpassing the $47.6 million earned by his acclaimed drama Precious in 2009.

Another holdover, New Line's We're the Millers, claimed the No. 2 spot with a $4 million Friday. The sleeper hit, now in its third outing, should earn $13 million for the weekend, pushing its domestic total past $90 million.

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Among the new entries, Edgar Wright's sci-fi action-comedy The World's End is doing pleasing business for Focus Features, grossing a solid $3.5 million Friday for a projected $9 million to $10 million weekend. Receiving a B+ CinemaScore, World's End is only playing in 1,549 theaters, compared to 3,118 for Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and 2,437 for horror pic You're Next.

World's End, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, follows a group of friends who reunite for an epic bar crawl only to discover that their hometown has been infested with a supernatural being. 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).

Mortal Instruments, based on Cassandra Clare's popular supernatural YA book series, came in No. 4 Friday, grossing an estimated $3.1 million for a tepid three-day total of $7.9 million (the pic opened Wednesday). The film, starring Lily Collins as a demon-hunting teen, is expected to gross in the $13.3 million to $13.8 million for the Wednesday to Sunday stretch, a disappointing start considering it is hoping to launch a franchise.

Sony is releasing Mortal Instruments via its Screen Gems label but has limited financial exposure since the $60 million movie was fully financed and produced by Germany's Constantin Films, which is counting on a strong international run. Constantin is already in pre-production on a sequel.

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Lionsgate's You're Next, about a family whose vacation home is attacked my animal-mask-wearing assailants, opened to $3 million Friday. Receiving a B- CinemaScore, the horror film is expected to earn $7.5 million to $8 million for the weekend, even though pre-release tracking had suggested it would beat World's End and Mortal Instruments.

The other film to watch is Woody Allen's critically acclaimed Blue Jasmine, which expanded to a total of 1,200 theaters Friday, marking Allen's widest release ever. The Sony Pictures Classics release is expected to come in No. 10 for the weekend with $1.2 million, pushing the film's domestic total to nearly $12 million.

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