En route to a finish far above initial expectations, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” will easily top two rival newcomers at the weekend box office.
“Butler” earned $8.4 million Friday, easily besting the $5.8 million for “Kick Ass 2.” With such Friday performances, their weekend expectations are for totals in the mid-$20 millions and mid-teens, respectively.
While the latter’s soft total will appear disappointing on paper, it should not prove surprising. Though predecessor “Kick Ass” had a following, it did not create any obvious signs of demand for a sequel. And insofar as the first “Kick Ass” earned only $20 million in its own weekend box office debut, it was difficult to envision a scenario in which the poorly-reviewed sequel would print money for cinemas.
“We’re the Millers” ($5.4 million), “Elysium” ($3.9 million) and “Planes” ($3.6 million) followed to complete the top five.
A disappointing weekend for “Kick Ass” is not the same as all-out flop weekends for fellow newcomers “Jobs” and “Paranoia.” The poorly-reviewed “Jobs” earned just $2.6 million Friday (7th place) for a likely $6-7 million weekend bow, while abysmally-reviewed “Paranoia” opened in tenth place with just $1.3 million Friday.