Forget Kick-Ass 2, Jobs, and Paranoia...the August 16-18, 2013 weekend was all about Lee Daniels' The Butler. Oprah Winfrey had been showing up everywhere doing publicity for the film, and that star-powered promotional campaign helped draw in audiences. Opening to better-than-anticipated numbers, The Butler - based loosely on the true story of a White House butler who served eight Presidents - also benefited from a highly publicized title fight between The Weinstein Company and Warner Bros Pictures which ultimately led to The Butler being renamed Lee Daniels' The Butler.
While Lee Daniels' The Butler had audiences lining up for tickets, the same can't be said about the weekend's other major releases. Kick-Ass 2 did anything but kick ass in theaters, not even managing to match the opening numbers of $19 million that the 2010 film scored. Kick-Ass 2 was blasted by critics (myself included) for leaving out the humor of the first film and taking the sequel substantially darker in tone (there's even an attempted rape used as an attempt to get laughs).
Ashton Kutcher's take on Steve Jobs also played to nearly empty theaters. Jobs failed to do its job of allowing audiences an in-depth look at the Apple visionary and instead settled for more of a glossy story that didn't dig very deep into Jobs' motivations. However, at least Kick-Ass 2 and Jobs made it into the top 10 over their opening weekend. Paranoia with Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, and Harrison Ford only managed a 13th place finish with $3.5 million.
Top 10 Films for Weekend of August 16-18, 2013
1) Lee Daniels' The Butler - $25,010,000
2) We're the Millers - $17,780,000
3) Elysium - $13,600,000
4) Kick-Ass 2 - $13,568,100
5) Planes - $13,141,000
6) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - $8,375,000
7) Jobs - $6,700,000
8) 2 Guns - $5,572,105
9) The Smurfs 2 - $4,600,000
10) The Wolverine - $4,425,000
(Photo © The Weinstein Company)