The Butler Serves Up Another Box Office Win But It Isn't the End for Edgar Wright

Scott analyzes the results from this past weekend's box office.  He also makes Craig Robinson cry by forgetting the fourth apocalyptic comedy and the second he stars in this year, Rapture-Palooza.


Coming out of this past weekend in the box office, the story that sticks out is that of Lee Daniel’s The Butler, which was number one for the second week in a row and has now earned $51 million over two weeks.  It is a solid statement to the suits in Hollywood that teenagers and young adults are not the only ones who venture to theatres and pump money into the film economy, and that a mature movie can succeed in the ticket sales.  It has made more after two weeks than big budget movies like After Earth ($46 mil), Red 2 ($35 mil), White House Down ($50 mil), and RIPD ($24 mil).  What is frustrating is that it seems studios are more likely to take a high budget/high risk gamble on an action movie than to see a well-casted drama come into theatres, even though it is proven that the drama can out-pace a number of the action movies.

As for the new releases, the movie that outperformed the others was The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which came in at third place.  This was a very slow week in theatres, as there were only two movies that made double digit millions and City of Bones came close with $9 million (it pulled in $14 million over the duration of its five day start).  While landing ahead of the other wide release movies is something to be proud of, the performance was not at all good as it has a budget of $60 million to make back, something that will not be happening in the domestic markets.  There were high hopes for this movie to grab a large audience as it is the first story in a six book series, and Hollywood loves its franchises.  It is just another example that just because you make a movie that has a similar feel to a popular series (in this instance, Twilight) it does not automatically mean the people will herd in that direction.

In fourth place this weekend was the Edgar Wright directed The World’s End, an apocalyptic comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  The idea of an apocalyptic comedy may seem random, but oddly enough it is the third one of 2013 following This is the End (starring Seth Rogen) and It’s a Disaster (starring David Cross).  The critics loved this movie, giving it a score of ninety one percent on Rotten Tomatoes.  It was the third movie in the ‘blood and ice cream trilogy’ (named after the appearance of blood and Cornetto iced cream treats), and had the most successful opening weekend of the three with $8.8 million on a modest budget of $20 million.  It had the highest dollar per theatre average of all wide release movies this weekend (with $5,667 per theatre), and it should be able to hold up well as it moves into next weekend, as it will not be facing competition from other comedies.

The last of the new wide release movies from this past weekend was You’re Next, a home invasion horror movie featuring a family dinner being crashed by baddies wearing animal masks and wielding crossbows.  It originally debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2011, and has had quite a wait to make it to theatres.  While the trailers make the movie out to look generic, it has done well with critics and has earned a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 79%.  Sadly for those involved with the movie, critics are not the ones to buy the majority of tickets, and it was only able to make a disappointing $7 million.  We can probably chalk this up to the trailer resembling the plot of The Purge, which came out back in June.  Even though the movies are said to be quite different, sometimes it sucks being the second one out as people may just view you as the copy-cat and do not bother giving it a whirl.  That is something that I think Roland Emmerich learned first-hand this year with White House Down.

Woody Allen’s latest movie Blue Jasmine moved from limited release to wide release and was shown in 1,200 theatres in the domestic market.  It made just shy of $4 million over the course of the weekend, bringing its current total to $14 million.  Allen’s last movie, To Rome With Love, earned a total of $16 million in the domestic market, so Blue Jasmine is sure to surpass that.  As well, Woody Allen’s movies have a history of doing well in the international realm, which is just one more argument for the fact that well-made, mature movies can be financially successful.  However, as many arguments we can make in favour of quality movies, executives seem to have their eyes on the hopeful billion dollar franchise and are willing to cycle through many duds and fiscal flops in the hopes of attaining the prize.