Box Office Report: 'The Butler' Tops Friday With $8.3 Million; 'Kick-Ass 2,' 'Jobs' Falter

8:27 AM PST 08/17/2013 by Pamela McClintock

The historical drama, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, will easily win the weekend with an estimated $24 million-plus.

Marking a victory for Lee Daniels and his high-profile cast, The Butler won the Friday box office with an estimated $8.3 million as it raced ahead of three other new films -- Kick-Ass 2, Jobs and corporate thriller Paranoia.

The Weinstein Co.'s The Butler, returning Oprah to the big screen after a lengthy absence, is headed for a $24 million-plus weekend after nabbing stellar reviews and an A CinemaScore. The movie tells the true story of Eugene Allen (Forest Whitaker), a butler who served in the White House through eight presidential administrations. Oprah plays Allen's wife.

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Oprah has thrown her marketing weight behind The Butler, which is already considered an early awards contender.

Heading into the weekend, most thought Universal's Kick-Ass 2 would win the weekend with a $20 million-plus debut because of younger fanboy moviegoers. The sequel, however, is lagging, grossing an estimated $5.8 million on Friday for a projected $15 million-plus weekend. That could put it No. 3 behind The Butler and We're the Millers.

Kick-Ass 2, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey, won't match the success of the original Kick-Ass, which debuted to just under $40 million in spring 2010. The sequel, rebuffed by most critics, received a B+ CinemaScore.

Jobs, the independently produced Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, and the corporate thriller Paranoia are faring even worse.

Made for under $15 million, Jobs took in an estimated $2.6 million on Friday for a projected $7.5 million to $8 million weekend, putting it at No. 6 or No. 7. The Open Road release was produced and financed by Five Star Films, with Endgame Entertainment partnering on the marketing. Jobs' performance is likely hurt by dismal reviews and a B- CinemaScore (Sony and Aaron Sorkin have their own Steve Jobs film in the works).

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Trailing even farther behind is Robert Luketic's $35 million film Paranoia, starring Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford. The title was produced and financed by IM Global and Demarest Films.

Paranoia, receiving a C+ CinemaScore, grossed an estimated $1.3 million on Friday and may only earn $4 million, putting it outside the top 10 at No. 11.

Among holdovers, We're the Millers is enjoying a strong second weekend and should boast a domestic cume of nearly $70 million by through Sunday. The New Line comedy stars Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston.

Neill Blomkamp's Elysium is slipping to No. 4 in its second outing, and should finish the weekend with a domestic total of roughly $55 million.

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