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.
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.