For the second week in a row, the Weinstein Company's Lee Daniels' The Butler topped box office receipts here in the U.S., grossing $17 million over the weekend (down 31% from last weekend, its debut weekend, according to data from BoxOfficeMojo), bringing it to $52.3 million to-date. With a budget estimated at $30 million, the film is already profitable.
The late August weekend is known as a dumping ground for studios following their summer blockbusters and before the start of the fall moviegoing season. Daniels' historical drama about a long-serving White House butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, last weekend opened with $24.6 million for the Weinstein Co.
According to The Associated Press, Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com, attributed the success of The Butler particularly to the marketing power of Winfrey and a savvy choice of a release date with little competition.
Warner Bros.' comedy We're the Millers, in its third week in theaters, came in No. 2 for the second weekend in a row with $13.5 million in the U.S. With $91.7 million in total receipts domestically and a budget of $37 million, the Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) subsidiary's film is also profitable.
Two opening-weekend films trailed the leaders domestically, Sony/Screen Gems' fantasy drama The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, with $9.3 million in weekend receipts, and Focus Features' comedy The World's End, at $8.9 million.
Meanwhile, in their third week of running, Buena Vista's animated Planes and TriStar's sci-fi Elysium grossed $8.6 million and $7.1 million, respectively, in U.S. theaters over the weekend.
The final opening act in the top 10, Lions Gate's (NYSE: LGF ) horror film You're Next, grossed $7 million, putting it in seventh place.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.