Box Office Talk: New Films Make No Mark, ‘The Butler’ Wins Again

There are many different forms of temptation, most of which are completely unrelated to movies or in this case predicting the box office. There is one temptation, however, and that’s believing that you (I) know what the general public is thinking and what they will pay money to see in theaters. The only excuse there is for falling victim to this trap is that people have spent a lot of money on films that have looked a lot worse. Unfortunately, I’m claiming that excuse as my own, because I gave into that very temptation. Although I have no doubt that it won’t be the last time that I give in to temptation, it frustrates me to no end that I allowed myself to get sucked in. The lesson here is that no matter how enjoyable a movie may look, if it gets a late summer release then its more than likely going to disappoint at the box office. There’s only so much money people can spend going to the theaters, before pockets are empty.

There was never any doubt that Lee Daniels’ The Butler would contend for a repeat atop the weekend box office. The question was whether or not it would be able to hold off newcomer You’re Next. Well, as it turns out You’re Next wasn’t next on anyone’s list, as the film debuted at #6 for the weekend with a paltry $7 million opening. Although You’re Next scored well with critics who are rating the film 80% ‘fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes and is rating well on IMDB at 7.1, it received a less than stellar ‘B-’ Cinemascore. With there being few films coming out soon that look entertaining there’s a chance that You’re Next could hang around, but its low opening could speak volumes about the lack of interest in the film. On the bright side, its safe to assume that we won’t be getting You’re After Next anytime soon.

The World’s End gave director Edgar Wright his biggest opening, but it was a disappointing one. If the film performs well enough during the week, there’s an excellent chance that it will surpass Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as Wright’s highest domestic grossing film. It’s a shame that the ‘Cornetto’ trilogy only seemed to appeal to fans of Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, because the English trio work very well together and truly know how to entertain. The World’s End received high praise from critics with a 91% ‘fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes, which means that the film was made with great intentions and not as a cash grab (i.e.The Hangover Part III. The ‘B+’ Cinemascore was slightly positive, but it’s 7.7 rating on IMDB is another sign of how enjoyable the film actually is. I hope more people will take a chance on The World’s End and maybe even go back and watch Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, because they are missing out on quality entertainment.

As someone who has no issue admitting zero interest in seeing any of the Twilight films, I’m not naive and realize the franchise’s amazing box office success. If any of the recent ‘wannabe’ Twilight franchises was able to gross even half of Twilight‘s $1.3 billion box office, it’ll still be a huge success. Sadly, at least to some, all of the pretenders have failed to come anywhere close to the phenomenal success of TwilightBeautiful CreaturesThe Host and now The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones have been 2013 duds. There just doesn’t appear to be any interest in these films, as fans seem content to wait for the next installment of their beloved Twilight. The lone bright spot for The Mortal Instruments would have to be its ‘B+’ Cinemascore and its 6.8 IMDB rating, because its box office was terrible and critics are lauding the film based on its 13% ‘rotten’ on Rotten Tomatoes. The cost to make these movies isn’t all that high, which makes it possible to recoup the costs. However, when a film opens this bad it makes that possibility practically slim to none. I just don’t foresee this film doing well during the week, especially with schools starting to get back in session, which makes it unlikely that Sony goes forward with its planned sequel.

Here’s how the Top 10 fared:

1 Lee Daniels’
The Butler
$16,000,000 $51,760,625 $51,760,625
2 We’re the Millers
$11,100,000 $91,287,318 $114,287,318
3 The Mortal Instruments:
City of Bones
$9,336,957 (3-day)
$14,088,359 (5-day)
$10,500,000 (3-day)
$16,000,000 (5-day)
$14,088,359 $14,088,359
4 The World’s End $8,790,237 $10,500,000 $8,790,237 $24,790,237
5 Planes $8,575,214
$7,400,000 $59,599,909 $77,399,909
6 You’re Next $7,020,196 $17,000,000 $7,020,196 $7,020,196
7 Elysium $6,926,280
$7,100,000 $68,880,218 $138,880,218
8 Percy Jackson:
Sea of Monsters
$4,900,000 $48,421,169 $110,495,169
9 Kick-Ass 2 $4,373,310
$6,000,000 $22,526,445 $38,626,445
10 Blue Jasmine $3,972,687
N/A $14,471,489 $14,471,489
*Additional New Releases
Paranoia $3,528,376 $9,000,000 $3,528,376 $3,528,376

Jason ($6.6M) has been on fire recently and is making a late summer season run at Nick ($18.1M) for 4th overall. Nick’s 4th place finish did allow him to make up some ground on Daniel ($23.5M) and Todd ($28M), and keeps him in the hunt for a top 3 finish at the conclusion of the year. Daniel’s struggles continue, as evident by his 5th place finish, but at least he was able to make up some much needed ground in his on going battle with Todd for 2nd place. Trevor’s ($10.2M) done well for himself the past couple of weeks and has made up some ground on the top spots, but isn’t able to make up any ground in the standings due to Jason’s success. After a few less than spectacular weeks, I ($13.6M) was finally able to get back on the right track with a 3rd place finish. More importantly, at least for me, was Todd’s 6th place finish allowing me to increase my overall lead to $63.9M. Finishing last for the weekend was Shane ($43.1M), who now finds himself an amazing $333.2M behind 1st place. With only 18 weeks remaining in the year and some big pictures on the horizon the chances to make moves are there, but time in running out.

Player /
The Mortal Instruments:
City of Bones
$14,088,359 (5-day)
The World’s End
You’re Next
Weekend Total Difference Yearly Total Difference
Two Dude Review
$16M $10.5M $17M $13.6M $502.2M
All My Life…I Wanted To Be A Blogster
$23.9M $12.4M $21.6M $28M $566.1M
Daniel’s Film Reviews
$25.4M $10M $18M $23.5M $570.9M
The Cinematic Katzenjammer
$23M $15M $10M $18.1M $585.6M
Movie Mavericks
$17M $9.5M $10M $6.6M $607.8M*
Movie Mavericks
$22M $8.5M $9M $10.2M $666M*
The Cinematic Katzenjammer
$19M $29M $25M $43.1M $835.4M

Written By Joe

You can find Joe’s site at Two Dude Review.

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  • Rodney

    It pisses me off when a film like Hangover III can make the GDP of a small European nation, but Edgar Wright’s films struggle to make a dent in the marketplace. Considering the wide-range appeal of his work, and the cult following his stuff has maintained over the years, you’d think Worlds End woulda been a shoe-in for audience share win….
    Still, who can explain American cinema tastes. Just look at the career Adam Sandler’s had making complete dreck.

  • Joe G.


    I completely understand and see where you are coming from. It’s unfortunate that movies like The World’s End, The Way Way Back and Fruitvale Station fall by the wayside, because they aren’t big budget films.

    As for Sandler, I admit to being entertained by his earlier works. Having said that, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed one of his films since The Wedding Singer.

    Don’t fret though…I believe that the general public is slowly starting to show signs of coming around and learning that they’ve wasted far too much money on slop and are beginning to be choosier. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are spending that money on films that deserve an audience, like those I previously mentioned.

  • The worlds end is a bad example… It has barely been marketed at all and they are relying on their cult following/bloggers etc to put the word out and films like this tend to make money on DVD… But it wasn’t very good, it’s not up to standard for wright & Edgar and their last sci-fi wasn’t great either Paul…

    All are contributing factors, but mainly due to the marketing IMO…

  • Rodney

    Having just bought Paul on Blu I’m gonna go and disagree with you there Mavi! But you’re right: World’s End has seen a pitiful advertising campaign (even here in Australia) for a filmmaking team whom most people would LOVE to go see in action once again. I don’t think I’ve met anyone yet who hasn’t enjoyed Hot Fuzz or Shaun of The Dead (or at the very least, appreciated the comedy) but I don’t see how by-the-numbers “comedy” from America still keeps churning the box-office up like it does. Eventually, one hopes, audiences will wise up and go see some decent films which warrant their money.

  • Rodney

    The guys over at TYLD had an interesting inforgraphic regarding the state of Hollywood’s blockbusters, and one stat in particular caught my eye: approximately +/- 1% of cinema output captures 90%+ of all box-office revenue, while the films probably more deserving of cash get swept aside by the tentpole juggernauts. Worth a look:
    It’s certainly a disproportionate amount of revenue for films which – largely – don’t deserve it. But then, that’s the Hollywood hype for you.
    And the only two Sandler films I like are Wedding Singer and Punch Drunk Love. The rest are all mediocre to crap.

  • Joe G.

    Thanks Rodney, I’ll definitely check it out.

    I’ve seen just about every new release this summer and what stands out to me as is that the movies I thought were the best are the ones with the smaller budgets. Fruitvale Stations, The Way, Way Back, and The Spectacular Now are in my summer top 5, with Mud getting an honorable mention.

    Maybe its maturity, maybe its becoming more critical, or maybe its because I just see so many movies, but regardless of the reason I’ve become someone that appreciates originality and a good story far more than movies driven by special effects.

  • Rodney

    I think you’ll find it’s a combination of all those factors that drives your critical eye towards the films with less “flash and bang” these days. As I’ve been getting older, I’ve found myself more and more critical of “blockbusters” that do not deliver on story, only on looks and action. I forgive less and less these days, largely thanks to finite time to watch films (thanks, kids) and budget (thanks, wife) so I have to pick and chose carefully. I find myself slowly being pulled towards films of a quality that might be less about the flash and more about the characters and story – something I’d never have considered when I was about 20.

    Weird how that happens, eh? Maybe that’s why older film critics are MORE critical of blockbuster films than the demographic they’re aimed at?