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Box office report: 'One Direction' wins weekend with $17 million; Spanish-language 'Instructions' stuns at No. 5

One Direction: This is Us plummeted 54 percent from Friday ($8.9 million) to Saturday ($4.0 million), but the boy band’s concert film still topped the three-day frame over Labor Day weekend with an estimated $17 million. Audiences, which were 87 percent female and 65 percent below the age of 17, rushed out to the theater on Friday (and awarded This Is Us an “A” CinemaScore), but the film’s intense frontloadedness could open a door for Lee Daniels’ The Butler to surpass it over the four day frame.

One Direction fared better than last year’s Katy Perry: Part of Me, which arrived with a whisper instead of a “Roar” on its opening weekend, grossing only $7.3 million. Yet 1D couldn’t outdo Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which danced up $29 million in its opening frame. (This is guaranteed to anger some Directioners, though fans can brag that This Is Us opened to $5.7 million in the U.K. — 187 percent above Never Say Never.) Sony spent just $10 million on the film, which has already become director Morgan Spurlock’s highest grossing feature ever — ahead of his fast food doc Supersize Me, which found $11.5 million total. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'One Direction: This Is Us' pops on Friday with $8.9 million

One Direction fans are known for being, er, passionate — and their passion sent the boy band’s 3-D concert doc straight to the top of the chart on Friday. One Direction: This Is Us earned $8.9 million on its first day in theaters ($2.7 million of which came from late Thursday shows), easily pummeling the competition. This Is Us, which only cost about $10 million to produce, fared better on its first day than Michael Jackson’s This Is It ($7.4 million), though it trailed Justin Bieber: Never Say Never ($12.4 million). Over the four-day weekend, Sony expects the film to pull in about $24 million, which would make it director Morgan Spurlock’s highest grossing film by far, surpassing Super Size Me‘s $11.5 million total.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler stepped down into second place with $3.6 million, with We’re the Millers close behind in third at $3.1 million. The leggy performers should finish the four-day weekend with $16 million and $14.5 million, respectively.

In fourth place, Planes flew away with $1.7 million, while Elysium rounded out the Top 5 with another $1.6 million. Both holdovers, which are currently in their third weekend, drew bigger crowds than Warner Bros.’ new release Getaway, which pulled in an anemic $1.4 million from 1,553 theaters. The poorly reviewed Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez vehicle might take in just over $5 million against an $18 million budget across the long weekend.

1. One Direction: This Is Us – $8.9 million
2. Lee Daniels’ The Butler – $3.6 million
3. We’re the Millers – $3.1 million
4. Planes – $1.7 million
5. Elysium – $1.6 million

Check back tomorrow for another box office update.

Box office preview: 'One Direction: This Is Us' takes on 'The Butler' over Labor Day weekend

Among holidays at the box office, Labor Day tends to be right up there with New Year’s as one of the weakest. Most folks spend the weekend cooking out or catching a few rays before summer is officially “over,” and studios tend to avoid releasing new films — and sometimes, they burn off their duds — during the low-attendance frame. But Sony’s move to open the concert doc One Direction: This Is Us over Labor Day makes sense. No matter when they’d scheduled the film, legions of loyal 1D fangirls would turn out all the same. Nothing comes between them and their boys.

And nothing is coming between One Direction and the number one spot…. except maybe The Butler, which could add a third weekend at No. 1 to its already impressive streak. Either way, both films should earn markedly more than the weekend’s other new wide release, Getaway, whose title seems to mirror most critics’ feelings about it. Here’s how the four-day weekend might play out:

1. One Direction: This Is Us – $22 million
Bring on the teens! The glossy concert film, the latest in the modern wave of pop-docs, will certainly open above last year’s Katy Perry: Part of Me ($7.3 million), but it likely won’t be able to match the debut of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never ($29 million). When Never Say Never was released, the Biebs had reached a level of pop-saturation that One Direction, though massively popular, haven’t quite hit. Still, the band, who recently broke the Today Show‘s attendance record by attracting 18,000 fans to Rockefeller Center and scored two No. 1 albums in 2012, have a passionate fanbase that should push their film to the top of the box office. Over four days, Sony’s $10 million doc, directed by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), may draw about $22 million — much of which will come from 3-D ticket sales. READ FULL STORY

Study suggest piracy might be good for indies, bad for blockbusters

Piracy is bad for the film business, right?

It might not be that simple. According to a recently updated study, it depends on what kind of movie you’re talking about. Looking at box office and digital download sales since the January 2012 closure of the popular digital sharing site Megaupload, researchers based in Copenhagen and Munich found that while blockbusters like The Avengers saw increased profits at the box office, mid-range and independent films were negatively impacted.

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Box office report: 'The Butler' repeats at No. 1, 'Mortal Instruments' flops

For the second weekend in a row, Lee Daniels’ The Butler dished out major blows to the new arrivals at the late summer box office. The Weinstein drama, which stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, fell 31 percent to $17 million this weekend, bringing The Butler‘s gross to $52.3 million after ten days. The film isn’t raking in quite as much as 2011′s The Help, which had earned $57.2 million in its first ten days (though that film opened on a Wednesday, so that total accounts for only one weekend), and it won’t match The Help‘s $169.7 million finish. Still, if word-of-mouth keeps driving slim week-to-week declines, The Butler has a very good chance of reaching $100 million. Even if it just misses the century mark, the film will triple its $30 million budget domestically.

But The Butler wasn’t the only holdover to notch an impressive drop. We’re the Millers held up even better in its third weekend. The Jason Sudeikis/Jennifer Aniston collaboration fell only 25 percent to $13.5 million, which gives the pot smuggling comedy a smoking $91.7 million total. Millers is performing even better than Sudeikis’ and Aniston’s previous comedic offering, Horrible Bosses, which had earned $82.6 million at the same point in its run on the way to a $117 million final tally. Warner Bros.’ Millers won’t be able to surpass The Heat‘s $155.9 million gross to become the biggest comedy of the summer, but it could still catch up to Grown Ups 2‘s $128 million total — a phenomenal result for a film that cost $37 million. Sudeikis chose the right project to launch his post-SNL career. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Butler' holds off competition with $4.8 million Friday

Despite the arrival of three newcomers, Lee Daniels’ The Butler stayed atop its box office perch quite easily on Friday. The $30 million Weinstein drama starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey fell 43 percent from its first Friday to $4.8 million, which puts it on track for a great $17 million second weekend. The Butler‘s total will have climbed to about $52 million by Sunday night.

We’re the Millers held up even better on its third Friday. The film dropped only 26 percent to $4 million, which should yield a $14 million weekend and an excellent $92 million total. The Warner Bros. million comedy, which cost $37 million, is set to become Jennifer Aniston’s sixth $100 million hit.

The next three spots on the chart belonged to the three new releases, none of which are lighting up the box office. The World’s End fared best, scoring $3.5 million from 1,549 theaters on Friday, and it may take in about $9 million over the full weekend. The British import will easily outdo the debuts of its two wacky predecessors, 2004′s Shaun of the Dead and 2007′s Hot Fuzz, which opened with $3.3 million and $5.8 million, respectively.

In fourth place, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones continued its march to the same YA-graveyard as Beautiful Creatures and The Host. The $60 million fantasy film conjured $3.1 million on Friday, which sets it up for an awful $9.3 million weekend and only $14 million over its five-day debut. At least that was better than You’re Next, which rounded out the Top 5 with $3 million on Friday. The R-rated horror film, which earned reviews on par with July’s The Conjuring, may slash up about $8 million this weekend.

1. The Butler – $4.8 million
2. We’re the Millers – $4.0 million
3. The World’s End – $3.5 million
4. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – $3.1 million
5. You’re Next – $3.0 million

Down in tenth place, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine seems to have expanded too quickly. After a few robust weeks in limited release (last weekend, in its fourth frame, Jasmine scored $2.3 million from 229 theaters thanks to a terrific $10,005 theater average), Sony Pictures Classics expanded the film into 1,237 theaters. But on Friday, Blue Jasmine took in just $1.2 million, putting it on pace for a $3.6 million frame. Most analysts were expecting about $6 million from the film this weekend, but it seems many potential viewers weren’t aware it was hitting their local cinema.

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

Analysis: Which summer movie had the highest social HIT score?

Despite a few real busts, this summer largely saw a rather buzzy box office — to the tune of over $4 billion so far. But it might surprise you to see which of the top 20 summer films were the most positively received by audiences.

EW has partnered with General Sentiment to develop an aggregate score to report — not just on what is trending in social media — but on what users are actually saying on social networks across the two weeks following a film’s release.

The most positive buzz on social networks, according to our data, was the discussion around Dreamworks’ animated film Turbo, followed closely by the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action movie White House Down, and buddy cop Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy romp The Heat. Not surprisingly, Johnny Depp’s critically panned Lone Ranger fell near the bottom of the list, but several films that had huge pre-release buzz, including Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3, saw their social buzz wind up somewhere in the middle after release.

Using a 100-point scale for each film — a score of 50 being neutral, a score of 51 and higher skewing positive, while scores of 49 and lower skew more negative, General Sentiment and EW can catch the sentiment of the social chatter – both positive and negative. Check out the HIT score below.
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Box office preview: 'The Butler' prepared to hold off 'You're Next' and 'Mortal Instruments'

After a full week atop the chart, The Butler should serve a second helping of box office dollars this weekend. Although three new movies are entering the fray (and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is getting a wide expansion), the summer movie season is waning. Kids are back in school, families are back from vacation, and consumers are saving their movie-going budgets for glossy fall releases. Typically, studios dump their worst fare in the late August-September box office dead zone, but two of this weekend’s releases, You’re Next and The World’s End, have earned some of the best reviews of the year. Unfortunately, that seems unlikely to drive them to big box office success.

Here’s how the weekend might play out:

1. The Butler – $16 million
Thanks to excellent word-of-mouth, Oscar buzz, and the lack of any new dramas for a mature audience competing, The Butler should hold up quite well in its second weekend. Over this weekend in 2011, The Help dipped only 23 percent, but The Butler hasn’t generated the groundswell of positive buzz that The Help did, and it may fall by a slightly steeper 35 percent to $16 million, which would yield a $50 million total. Not bad considering the Weinstein film cost just $30 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office disaster: Harrison Ford's 'Paranoia' has the worst debut of 2013 (and his career)

paranoia-03

Together, Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, and Harrison Ford have starred in some of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Hemsworth has The Hunger Games, Oldman had the Harry Potter films, and Ford starred in two little franchises called Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

But the trio of actors couldn’t lift the $40 million thriller Paranoia — which you may not have realized opened in 2,459 theaters on Friday — out of the box office doldrums. In fact, Paranoia bombed. Badly. The film earned just $3.5 million in its first three days, which yielded a pitiful $1,423 per-theater average. Not only is that the worst debut of 2013 for a movie opening in more than 2,000 theaters — stealing the inauspicious title from Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, which opened with $4.6 million in May — it’s the worst wide opening weekend of Ford’s entire career. Han Solo can usually do better than 13th place.

Paranoia was directed by Robert Luketic, the rom-com specialist behind films like Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth, and Monster-in-Law. Neither audiences nor critics enjoyed his take on the business thriller, though. The film currently has a 2 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and polled crowds stamped it with an awful “C+” CinemaScore grade. Ads for the film were confusing, and despite their effort to explain the storyline, made the film look like little more than a jumbled mess of corporate conspiracy.
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Box office report: 'The Butler' cleans up with $25 million, wipes the floor with 'Kick-Ass 2'

This weekend at the box office, a superhero comedy, a Steve Jobs biopic, and a Harrison Ford thriller all got served by a butler. Lee Daniels’ The Butler, to be exact. The Weinstein Company’s awards-bait drama, which stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, topped the chart with an excellent $25 million from 2,933 theaters in its first frame. Audiences issued the well-reviewed picture an enthusiastic “A” CinemaScore grade, which sets it up for a lucrative box office run as summer draws to a close.

The Butler opened in the same range as The Help, which found $26 million in its first weekend in August 2011. Like that film, The Butler tells a racially charged story that is playing particularly well with older women. According to Weinstein, crowds were 60 percent female and 76 percent above the age of 35. Winfrey’s presence no doubt helped lure in many of those ticket-buyers, as did The Butler‘s “inspired by a true story” cachet.
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