It was hardly subservient at the movie theater; Lee Daniels' The Butler had the highest ticket sales of any film this past weekend.
The movie, starring Forrest Whitaker as the title character and also starring Oprah Winfrey, raked in slightly over $25 million in its debut, according to industry tracker Box Office Mojo, nearly reaching its estimated production budget of $30 million. The film is distributed by the privately held Weinstein Company.
No. 2 belonged to We're the Millers. Now in its second week of release, the comedy sold $17.8 million worth of tickets this past weekend, bringing its tally to $69.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo. This is significantly higher than its estimated production budget of $37 million. Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) Warner Bros. distributes the movie.
Rounding out the top three was the sci-fi epic Elysium, also in week two of general release. It brought in $13.6 million over the weekend; its tally now stands at nearly $56 million, Box Office Mojo figures show. It was an expensive film to make, however, with a production budget pegged at $115 million. It is distributed by Sony (NYSE: SNE) unit TriStar.
Three disappointing debuts belonged to Kick-Ass 2 and a pair of tech-flavored offerings, Jobs and Paranoia. Kick-Ass 2, a sequel to 2010's violent superhero-wannabe fable, drew just under $13.6 million in sales, considerably below the $19.8 million of the original film's opening weekend. Kick-Ass 2 is distributed by Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Universal.
Jobs, a biopic of Apple's late co-founder, took in a relatively weak $6.7 million compared to its production budget of $12 million, debuting in seventh place over the weekend. Cyber-thriller Paranoia, burdened by what Box Office Mojo called a light marketing effort and poor reviews, sold only $3.5 million worth of tickets against a production budget ten times that. This, despite the presence of durable stars Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.
Both Jobs and Paranoia are distributed by privately held firms; the former by Open Road Films, the latter by Relativity Media.