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Tag: Lee Daniels' The Butler (1-10 of 15)

'Best Man Holiday': Does its success change the future of black film?

The Best Man Holiday, the R-rated sequel to 1999’s The Best Man, opened to $30.6 million this weekend, surprising box-office watchers who had predicted the $17 million film wouldn’t generate half of its ultimate take home. Yet to director Malcolm D. Lee, who wrote and produced the film along with its predecessor, the only surprise is how Hollywood hasn’t evolved its thinking toward films featuring black actors.

“I’m tired of the dismissive, marginalized way that movies starring African-American actors who don’t happen to be Will Smith or Denzel Washington or Kevin Hart, [are talked about when they] perform well at the box office,” Lee says. “Tyler Perry makes a movie and it’s number one almost every time. Think Like a Man was number one two weeks in a row. People talk about [Best Man Holiday] over-performing, but I feel like we got under-estimated.”

The majority of the audience for Best Man Holiday (87 percent) was African-American females,  90 percent of whom saw the original film. More important, the sequel generated an A+ with exit pollster Cinemascore indicating that the film should broaden out to a wider audience.

Lee is counting on it.
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Box office report: 'Insidious: Chapter 2' boasts a stunning $41 million debut; 'The Family' comes in second

The mob is no match for a horror flick at the box office.

Even though the Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer comedy The Family fared better than expected, the weekend of Friday the 13th was always going to belong to James Wan, whose Insidious: Chapter 2 (CinemaScore: B+) took in a staggering $41.05 million in 3,049 locations with a per-screen average of $13,463, making it the biggest September opening for a horror pic by over $10 million (The Exorcism of Emily Rose opened at $30.05 million in 2005). We’ll have to wait till the actuals come in on Monday, but Wan just barely managed to lose out to himself; his other summer success, The Conjuring, opened in first place in July with $41.9 million. This is another hit for Blumhouse Productions, too, which produced the micro-budget horror film and enjoyed similar profits with this year’s The Purge.

Wan, who also directed Saw and the first Insidious, has said he won’t be taking on any more horror films in the near future, but that’s just because he’s off to something much bigger: the billion-dollar Fast & Furious franchise.
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Box office update: 'Insidious: Chapter 2' enjoys a $20 million Friday the 13th

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Friday the 13th is James Wan’s lucky day.

Audiences turned out in droves to check out Insidious: Chapter 2, which opened at an impressive $20 million. Film District’s PG-13-rated thriller opened in 3,049 theaters with significant social media and pre-sale buzz working in its favor. It’s also been a great summer for modestly budgeted horror films, including The Purge and Wan’s own The Conjuring. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as the poor parents just trying to protect their unlucky son from the demon spirits they thought they were rid off at the end of the first film. The $5 million film, boasting a $6,579 location average, should walk away with at least $40 million this weekend, even with the likelihood that teens won’t turn out in the same numbers on the significantly less exciting Saturday the 14th. Still, this is on track with The Conjuring, which also starred Wilson and opened at $41.8 million in mid-July.

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Box office preview: Mob comedy 'The Family' attempts to intimidate 'Insidious Chapter 2'

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Two very different kinds of families are facing off at the box office this weekend: One is a Robert De Niro-led mafia clan in the witness protection program and the other is a family who may not be entirely rid of the demonic spirits who possessed their young son.

We hate to break it to Mr. De Niro, despite his mafia patriarch credentials, it’s not even a contest. Insidious Chapter 2, James Wan’s sequel to his runaway hit, Insidious, will win the weekend, while Luc Besson’s The Family might not even make second place. Instead, Wan will compete with his Fast & Furious 7 star Vin Diesel, whose Riddick brought in $19 million its first weekend in theaters.
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Box office report: 'Riddick' wins weekend with $18.7 million; 'Instructions Not Included' continues to impress

Vin Diesel had to wait nine years to bring his passion project, Riddick, to the big screen, but the wait paid off — the film topped the chart in its opening weekend and became the star’s second number one film this year after Fast & Furious 6. Riddick opened with $18.7 million, which marks a 23 percent drop from The Chronicles of Riddick‘s $24.3 million start in 2004. That may sound like a steep decline, but it’s important to remember that the two films had a very different sets of stakes.

The Chronicles of Riddick cost $105 million and finished with a weak $57 million total — not to mention poor critical reviews and weak audience reactions from fans who felt like the film’s PG-13 rating took away the dark edge present in franchise launchpad, Pitch Black, which earned $39.2 million in 2000. Diesel obtained the rights to Riddick from Universal as part of his negotiations to return to the Fast & Furious franchise, and he spent years raising the film’s $38 million budget through independent financiers. Universal agreed to distribute the film, and the studio shouldn’t be too disappointed that Riddick earned back half of its budget on opening weekend, especially during the traditionally weak post-Labor Day frame. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Riddick' wins Friday with $7.3 million, 'One Direction' falls hard

Vin Diesel’s passion project Riddick isn’t earning Fast & Furious-sized numbers, but the sci-fi sequel to 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick managed a fair performance on its first day in theaters — and one that ensures the star his second number one debut this year. Riddick took in $7.3 million on Friday, which should yield an opening weekend of about $18 to 19 million. While that’s substantially lower than Chronicles‘ $24.3 million debut, the stakes for each film were quite different: Chronicles cost $105 million to make, while Riddick was independently financed for $38 million. Distributor Universal shouldn’t be too disappointed.

In second place, Lee Daniels’ The Butler pulled in $2.4 million on its fourth Friday. The Weinstein-backed drama may earn about $9 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period and finish the frame with a $92 million total. We’re the Millers finished close behind with $2.3 million, giving the film a $118.2 million total and making it Jason Sudeikis’ highest-grossing film ever ahead of Horrible Bosses. The R-rated comedy is headed to an $8 million weekend and $124 million total by Sunday night. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Butler' passes 'One Direction' for No. 1 spot on Labor Day; 'Getaway' crashes

Although One Direction: This Is Us topped the box office over the three-day weekend, the boy band couldn’t hold off Lee Daniels’ The Butler over the extended four-day frame. The Weinstein drama surged to $20 million during the Friday-to-Monday period (a 21 percent increase over last weekend), giving the Forest Whitaker showcase $79.3 million total against a $30 million budget. The Butler is now a lock to earn over $100 million domestically, though it won’t be able to achieve a fourth weekend in first place. Riddick will make sure of that.

One Direction: This Is Us finished in second place with $18 million. After an $8.9 million Friday, Sony was expecting This Is Us to earn about $24-25 million over the four-day weekend, but the film’s fangirl appeal made it even more frontloaded than the studio expected. Sony had to downgrade its three-day result from $17 million to $15.8 million this morning — but the film is hardly in trouble. Morgan Spurlock shot the 3-D doc for just $10 million, and it should do gangbusters business on DVD.

We’re the Millers and Planes stuck around in third and fourth place with $15.9 million and $10.7 million, respectively. After four weekends, Millers has earned $112.9 million, while Planes has taken in $73.8 million.

In fifth place, surprise hit Instructions Not Included continued its incredible run, scoring $10 million from 347 theaters over the holiday frame. The Spanish-language film starring Eugenio Derbez notched a sizzling $28,616 per theater average, and distributors Lionsgate and Pantelion plan on expanding the film substantially next weekend.

1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler – $20 million
2. One Direction: This Is Us – $18 million
3. We’re the Millers – $15.9 million
4. Planes – $10.7 million
5. Instructions Not Included – $10 million

Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez’s critically reviled thriller Getaway crashed and burned on its opening weekend. After four days, the Warner Bros. release, which was produced by Dark Castle Entertainment for $18 million, has grossed an anemic $5.5 million, and word of mouth suggests that moviegoers will continue to “get away” from the picture next weekend.

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

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