Box Office: 'One Direction' Opens No. 1 Thursday Night With Strong $2.7 Million

The concert documentary -- directed by Morgan Spurlock -- should have no trouble topping the Labor Day weekend box office as summer winds to a close.

Benefiting from the fan frenzy that surrounds the British boy band, Sony's concert documentary One Direction: This Is Us topped the Thursday box office after opening at 7 p.m., earning a strong $2.7 million.

The film is expected to win the long Labor Day weekend with $20 million-plus, restoring some of the luster to the concert documentary genre. In summer 2012, the Katy Perry concert doc Part of Me opened to a dismal $7.2 million.

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Thanks to fans, One Direction's Thursday night earnings bested the Thursday night grosses of Sony's summer comedy Grown Ups 2 ($2.3 million) and New Line's We're the Millers ($1.7 million). 

One Direction's main competition is likely to be third-week holdover Lee Daniels' The Butler. The Weinstein Co. film has held the No. 1 spot the previous two weekends and has earned $55.7 million domestically to date. Starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, the film could earn another $14 million to $15 million this weekend.

Super Size Me documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock directs Sony's 3D concert film about the British pop band consisting of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.

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The PG film, opening in more than 2,500 theaters, is produced by Spurlock and Simon Cowell, who first assembled the boy band after the musicians appeared as solo acts on the U.K.'s The X Factor. The film is rolling out in much of the world this weekend.

Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana concert film Best of Both Worlds currently holds the record for the top concert film opening weekend at the domestic box office. It earned $31 million in February 2008. Justin Bieber's concert doc Never Say Never opened in February 2011, earning $29.5 million its opening weekend.

This weekend's other newcomers -- Closed Circuit with Eric Bana and Getaway, starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez -- face grim prospects.

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Also opening this weekend is the Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included. Pantelion and Lionsgate are targeting Hispanic adults and will release the film in 347 North American theaters.

At the specialty box office, Wong Kar Wai's martial arts epic The Grandmaster makes an aggressive push after opening in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto last weekend. The movie, from The Weinstein Co., will be playing in nearly 750 theaters Friday, Aug. 30.

Specialty openers include Afternoon Delight, starring Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple; Brian De Palma's erotic thriller Passion, starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace; and the Kristen Bell starrer The Lifeguard.