“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” regained the top slot at the North American box office over the US holiday weekend, according to preliminary figures released by an industry group.
The film about the civil rights era as seen through the eyes of a black White House servant played by Forest Whitaker had briefly lost ground to a documentary about the British boy band One Direction.
US actor Forest Whitaker (L) and US director Lee Daniels pose on the red carpet before the screening of their film "The Butler" as part of the 39th Deauville's US Film Festival.- AFP
But over the four-day weekend the film, which also stars Oprah Winfrey as the butler’s wife, grossed more than $20 million compared to “One Direction: This Is Us,” which netted just $18 million on its debut, according to Exhibitor Relations.
Monday was the federal Labour Day holiday in the United States, and the final results will not be known until Tuesday.
The concert documentary about the tween sensation has generated lukewarm reviews in the United States, but with an estimated budget of around $10 million had been expected to deliver a hugely profitable box-office hit for Sony.
It is directed by Morgan Spurlock, best known for his 2004 fast-food expose “Super Size Me.”
The fourth spot was claimed by Disney’s animated film “Planes,” a spin-off from Pixar’s “Cars” franchise, which took in $10.7 million.
In fifth place was the comedy-drama “Instructions Not Included,” Eugenio Derbez’s movie about a Mexican playboy who is suddenly presented with the child from a previous liaison and forced to become a father. The movie took in $10 million.
Sixth place was occupied by science-fiction drama “Elysium”, the critically acclaimed blockbuster starring Matt Damon about wealthy humans living in an exclusive outer space colony after Earth is ruined.
The film, directed by South Africa’s Neill Blomkamp, added another $8.3 million to take its four-week total to $80.4 million.
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” a teen-romance demon thriller about a girl who discovers dark secrets from her family’s past, dropped four places to seventh with $6.8 million.
British action disaster comedy “The World’s End” also slipped down the rankings, falling to eighth place from fourth last week with $6.5 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” with $6 million and new entrant “Getaway”, the action thriller starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, with $5.5 million.