Oprah Winfrey served up a surprise No. 1 finish for "Lee Daniels' The Butler" at the weekend box office, while the superhero sequel "Kick-Ass 2" tripped on its cape.
"The Butler" took in about $25 million in North American theaters, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box-office data. A biographical drama that cost roughly $30 million to make, "The Butler" was aggressively promoted by Winfrey, who plays an alcoholic wife in the film. Pent-up demand for more serious cinema also helped sales, as did enthusiastic reviews and a tempest-in-a-teapot fight over the film's title.
"We're the Millers" was a strong second, taking in an estimated $17.8 million, for a two-week total of $69.5 million. "Elysium" and "Kick-Ass 2" tied for third place, with ticket sales of about $13.6 million each. The two-week total for "Elysium" now stands at a disappointing $55.9 million.
The first installment in the "Kick-Ass" series took in $21.2 million, after adjusting for inflation, for Lionsgate, which passed on making a sequel. Universal noted on Sunday that the second film, like the first, was relatively inexpensive to make, costing independent financiers about $28 million.
Fifth place went to "Planes," which sold about $13.1 million in tickets, for a two-week total of $45.1 million. The Steve Jobs biopic "Jobs" sputtered badly, with ticket sales of about $6.7 million, and "Paranoia," a thriller starring Harrison Ford, fared even worse, taking in $3.5 million.