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This weekend, the historical drama Lee Daniels' The Butler easily won a second term as commander-in-chief of the North American box office, beating out three new releases that each opened in the single-digit millions. Forest Whitaker's White House saga declined by only 31% in its sophomore session to an estimated $17M, pushing the ten-day total to an impressive $52.3M and putting it on track to break the $100M mark and become one of the top five grossing films ever for its distributor.
The annual late-summer funk hit the North American box office with only one of the frame's four new wide releases connecting with audiences. The potential Oscar contender Lee Daniels' The Butler surprised many with its number one opening grossing an estimated $25M. The PG-13 film averaged a strong $8,527 from 2,933 theaters and was the only wide release this weekend to gross more than $20M or generate an average above $6,000.
North American multiplexes were hit with a traffic jam as four new wide releases took all the leading spots with the top ten beating out both last weekend's and last year's numbers. Leading the way with a number one debut was the sci-fi action thriller Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster which opened to $30.5M from 3,284 locations for a good $9,287 average. Considering the original story, R rating, and the fact that 14 other summer action films came before it, the debut was respectable though not stellar.
This weekend, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg seized the number one spot at the North American box office with their new action thriller 2 Guns, which opened to an estimated $27.4M. Universal's seventh top spot debut of the year averaged a solid $9,045 from 3,025 locations and ended up in the mid-20s range where so many of Washington's films have opened before. It was an impressive bow given that the film was rated R, was not part of a well-known brand, and arrived as the 14th action movie of the summer. Audiences have had a plethora of choices in this genre lately and no action movie has overperformed since World War Z in mid-June.
Hollywood's latest super hero offering took command of the box office as Hugh Jackman's return to Adamantium action in The Wolverine resulted in a number one opening. The popular Marvel character took in an estimated $55M from 3,924 locations for a solid $14,016 average. The debut was almost identical to the $55.1M debut of the franchise's last film X-Men: First Class which opened in June 2011. That summer's Thor and Captain America films bowed to about $65M a piece.
This weekend, following four consecutive frames of animated sequels ruling the North American box office, horror fans returned with a vengeance powering the new supernatural thriller The Conjuring to a number one opening over a crowded weekend that saw four new releases debut in wide release. The R-rated spookfest grossed a sensational $41.5M from 2,903 locations for a sizzling $14,306 average.
Humor was in demand as A-list funnymen Steve Carell and Adam Sandler dominated the box office with their hit sequels Despicable Me 2 and Grown Ups 2, respectively, while the raunchy laughs of The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy also finished among the top four movies for the frame. The big-budget sci-fi actioner Pacific Rim opened in third and helped lead another weekend when ticket sales were substantially ahead of last year's.
This weekend, toon bad guy Gru dominated the box office with a gargantuan debut for his animated sequel Despicable Me 2 which drove the marketplace to a new record for the Independence Day holiday frame. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp attracted disappointing numbers to his new summer tentpole The Lone Ranger which finished in second.
With two new monster hits combining to take in nearly $150M alone, the North American box office exploded this weekend with the top 10 grossing $226M becoming the second highest grossing weekend of the year and one of the top grossing weekends of all time.
This weekend, Superman was reborn at the box office as the big-budget gamble Man of Steel paid off handsomely with a spectacular opening weekend in North America plus impressive launches overseas in only a portion of the international marketplace. The Warner Bros. summer tentpole grossed an estimated $113.1M domestically, breaking the record for the biggest June opening ever. Adding in $12M from Thursday night group sales led by Walmart's promotion for 7:00pm shows, the total stood at a stellar $125.1M. The Friday-to-Sunday portion for the PG-13 film averaged a muscular $26,879 from 4,207 theaters including 331 IMAX screens. Toy Story 3 held the June record since 2010 with $110.3M.
The action sequel Fast & Furious 6 held onto the top spot at the North American box office despite decelerating sharply and facing off against competition from a pair of new releases. But it was Will Smith who crashed and burned as his big-budget sci-fi action pic After Earth was rejected by paying moviegoers proving that the once-bulletproof star is no longer invincible. In fact, it was beaten out for the number two spot by the magician heist thriller Now You See Me which posted a strong debut beating expectations.
Moviegoers gorged themselves on high-profile sequels powering the North American box office to a record-breaking Memorial Day frame with the top ten films grossing over $250M during just the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long weekend. The marketplace expanded to incredible levels making for one of the five biggest overall box office weekends ever.
Vulcans and their comrades came out to power the sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness into the number one spot at the North American box office, however grosses were substantially below industry expectations across the board. The Paramount franchise film had an extended release and grossed $70.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday period with a total of $84.1M since its start on Wednesday night in IMAX locations making for a debut that was smaller than its 2009 predecessor's.
This weekend, superhero love kept Iron Man 3 in the number one spot for a second weekend in a row while the lavish period saga The Great Gatsby overperformed in second place offering effective counter-programming. It was the first time in nearly a year that two films did over $50M in business over the same frame.
Tony Stark obliterated the competition as the much-anticipated super hero sequel Iron Man 3 generated the second biggest opening weekend in box office history and also became the top-grossing global blockbuster of 2013. Domestic audiences spent a jaw-dropping $175.3M this weekend, according to estimates, seeing the third installment in the Marvel franchise including grosses from Thursday night shows starting at 9:00pm. Playing in 4,253 theaters, the PG-13 actioner averaged a scorching $41,218 per location and was helped by surcharges for the 3D conversion.
For the ninth time in ten tries, Michael Bay saw his latest directorial effort open at number one as the action-comedy Pain & Gain debuted on top of a sluggish box office frame with an estimated $20M. Headlined by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, the R-rated Paramount release averaged a respectable $6,103 from 3,277 theaters. The action director's only film to not hit number one was his 2005 disaster The Island. He then made only Transformers movies until Pain.
Now in his fourth decade of scoring number one hit movies, Tom Cruise enjoyed one of the best openings of his entire career with the futuristic science fiction film Oblivion which topped the box office worldwide.
Jackie Robinson made history again as the new film 42 delivered the best opening ever for a baseball movie and clinched first place at the North American box office by racing past industry expectations. Meanwhile, the mindless spoof comedy Scary Movie 5 attracted a fraction of the once-popular franchise's audience and debuted in second place with unimpressive results. Overall ticket sales were about even with normal mid-April levels.