NORTH AMERICA: Studio Weekend Estimates: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' with $17.0M and 'We're the Millers' with $13.5M Easily Outpace Newcomers 'The Mortal Instruments', 'The World's End' and 'You're Next' (6th Update) on August 23, 2013


Sunday Update: Thanks in part to strong word of mouth, Lee Daniels' The Butler had no problem outpacing this weekend's lackluster wide releases to remain in first place. The awards season hopeful from The Weinstein Company starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey grossed an estimated $17.02 million, which was down a very healthy 31 percent from last weekend. The Butler has grossed a strong $52.27 million through ten days of release. That places the film a slim 3 percent behind the $53.75 million ten-day start of 42 earlier this year (which fell 36 percent to gross $17.72 million in its second weekend of release). With the Labor Day holiday weekend around the corner, The Butler is set to move ahead of the pace of 42 come next weekend.

Also holding up very well this weekend was Warner's We're the Millers. The break-out comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis was down only 25 percent from last weekend to remain in second place with an estimated $13.5 million. We're the Millers has grossed an impressive $91.74 million through 19 days of release, leaving it just $8.26 million away from reaching the $100 million mark. Thanks to even stronger holding power, We're the Millers is running 9 percent ahead of the $83.85 million 19-day take of 2008's Tropic Thunder. Like The Butler, We're the Millers should continue to hold up very well next weekend with aid from the Labor Day holiday frame.

This weekend's top wide release was Sony's The Mortal Instruments. However, the latest attempt at establishing a young adult franchise was arguably this weekend's most disappointing new wide release with an estimated third place take of $9.3 million. That places the five-day start for the Lily Collins led The Mortal Instruments at $14.05 million. On the heels of the disappointing performances of Beautiful Creatures and The Host earlier this year, audiences are once again indicating that they aren't ready for another potential young adult franchise at this point in time. The Mortal Instruments is running 22 percent ahead of the $11.49 million five-day start of Beautiful Creatures (which opened on a Thursday) and 24 percent behind the $18.57 million five-day start of 2010's Vampires Suck.

The Mortal Instruments did have a solid estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.98 to 1, though that ratio was obviously inflated from the Wednesday opening. The film's B+ CinemaScore rating was also solid. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (68 percent) and a bit towards moviegoers over 21 (54 percent).

Focus' The World's End, the latest Edgar Wright directed comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, debuted in fourth with an estimated $8.94 million. Of this weekend's new wide releases, The World's End came closest to opening in line with pre-release expectations. With a modest location count of 1,549, The World's End had a per-location average of $5,773, which represented the strongest per-location average of any film in wide release this weekend. Compared to previous films starring Pegg and Frost, The World's End opened 53 percent ahead of the $5.85 million start of 2007's Hot Fuzz (which opened in 825 locations) and 31 percent behind the $13.04 million debut of 2011's Paul (which opened in 2,802 locations).

The World's End was fairly front-loaded this weekend. After opening with $3.5 million on Friday, the film fell 11 percent on Saturday to take in $3.11 million and is estimated to fall 25 percent on Sunday to gross $2.33 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.55 to 1. The film did earn an encouraging B+ rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for The World's End skewed towards male moviegoers (58 percent) and towards moviegoers under 30 (54 percent).

You're Next debuted in seventh place with an estimated $7.05 million. Despite strong critical reviews and late August typically being a good time to unleash horror films at the box office, the low-budget Lionsgate release was unable to catch on with audiences this weekend and debuted below expectations. The film opened 17 percent below the $8.53 million start of 2011's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. You're Next will hope that its strong reviews will help transfer into good holding power for its genre going forward, though a B- CinemaScore rating and an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of just 2.37 to 1 (after opening with $2.97 million on Friday) aren't strong early signs for the film.

Sony Pictures Classics' Blue Jasmine had a solid expansion this weekend with an estimated take of $4.3 million. Playing in 1,283 locations this weekend; The Woody Allen directed film starring Cate Blanchett earned a per-location average of $3,352 for the frame. While Blue Jasmine couldn't match the $5.83 million 2011's Midnight in Paris grossed when it expanded to 944 locations, it did outpace the $3.11 million last year's To Rome with Love grossed when it expanded to 806 locations. The 31-day total for Blue Jasmine stands at $14.69 million.

Holdovers Planes and Elysium took fifth and sixth places respectively with estimated grosses of $8.57 million and $7.1 million. Disney's Planes was down 36 percent from last weekend, while Elysium fell 48 percent. Respective 17-day totals stand at $59.59 million for Planes and at $69.05 million for Elysium; with Planes having the more impressive domestic performance of the two when taking costs and expectations into account.

Full studio weekend estimates can be found here.

Saturday Update #2: The World's End grabbed $3.5 million in its debut yesterday. Although that marks a bit of a drop from the $4.5 million opening day ($1,595 per theater) of Paul back in 2011, The World's End opened in 45 percent fewer theaters. A more reasonable comparison is 2007's Hot Fuzz, which earned $2.1 million in its first day (a $2,567 average). BoxOffice is projecting a $9.5 million weekend opening in third place for The World's End. The film's 91 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating makes it one of the best reviewed movies of the summer, although, that may not be carrying over to audiences: The World's End carries a 79 percent Flixster score so far--already behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. However, that does leave it ahead of Paul's 62 percent for now.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones added $3.1 million in its third day of release on Friday. Following underwhelming numbers on Wednesday and Thursday, the latest in a string of young adult-driven adaptations to disappoint has taken in $7.85 million so far and is heading for a $9.2 million three-day frame. Although critics lauded the film, Flixster users have given the flick a 77 percent approval rating so far. However, that's down about 19 percent from its anticipation level prior to release.

You're Next was unable to capitalize on its own positive reviews (receiving an 80% rating from critics--strong for its genre). The latest home invasion thriller looted $2.97 million on Friday and is headed for a $7.8 million opening frame. The film's Flixster score is currently sitting at 73 percent, although it remains to be seen how much lower that will drop. By comparison, The Purge ended up with an audience rating of 37 percent since its breakout opening in June. Although the crowded market is a big factor, audiences appear to burnt out on horror/thriller pics for now.

Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine showed some strength in its wide expansion to 1,283 theaters this weekend. The pic earned $1.16 million on Friday to boost its cume to $11.66 million. Adult audiences are clearly ready for some decidedly non-summer films as we head into the fall season. Blue Jasmine should accumulate $4.2 million this weekend.

Saturday Update: Lee Daniels' The Butler will repeat in the top spot this weekend. The Weinstein Company's drama pulled $4.785 million on Friday (representing just a 43 percent drop from its opening day last week). That gives the drama a $40.04 million domestic haul in its first eight days. BoxOffice projects the film will rake in a strong $16.5 million for its sophomore weekend.

Warner Bros.' We're the Millers continues to impress with its holding power at the end of summer's box office season. The comedy eased just 26 percent from last Friday to $4.02 million yesterday. Millers has tallied $82.26 million to-date and is on pace for a $13.3 million third weekend in second place ahead of all newcomers.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Lee Daniels' The Butler will easily stay #1 during its sophomore frame by adding another $15 million to its haul. A $15 million take would put The Butler at a little over $50 million after two weekends. 

It's shaping up to be a close race between The Mortal Instruments and The World's End. The Mortal Instruments is on pace for $11 million from Friday-Sunday, while The World's End is looking at $11.5 million. 

You're Next is looking at an $8.5 million debut.

More coming later...

Friday Update: Lionsgate reports that You're Next managed a solid $485K from Thursday evening shows. That's not too far off from the $525K Thursday haul of Lionsgate's Warm Bodies, which posted a strong $20.3 million debut frame this past February. 

Critics are being surprisingly kind to You're Next. The horror flick currently boasts an impressive 79% approval rating on RottenTomatoes. More than 12,000 Flixster users have combined to give You're Next a 75% approval rating.

Summer 2013 has already spawned two horror successes--The Purge and The Conjuring--so there doesn't look to be room for a third, but You're Next should still manage a respectable debut. 

Thursday Update: Sony reports that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will finish in first place on Wednesday with $3 million, but predicts that it won't be strong enough to topple Lee Daniels' The Butler this coming weekend. The teen-skewing flick is failing to tap into the same fervor that turned the Twilight franchise into a massive global phenomenon. 

Critics are having fun ripping The Mortal Instruments apart, giving it a mediocre 17% approval rating on The drama is performing much better on Flixster where it boasts a solid 81% approval rating from more than 19,000 users.

Two other 2013 releases--Beautiful Creatures and The Host--also tried and failed to become "the new Twilight." Beautiful Creatures made $2.5 million on its first day of domestic release this past February en route to a global theatrical haul of only $59 million. The Host, an adaptation of another novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, manged $5.3 million in North America on opening day in March. Open Road's sci-fi romance finished with $63 million globally. It looks the combination of supernatural elements and young love has run its course for the time being.

Check back later for more updates... 














Ben Affleck To Play Batman In 'Man Of Steel' Sequel on August 23, 2013


Get ready to watch the Internet explode.

In a controversial move, Warner Bros. has set Ben Affleck to star as Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.

Affleck was long rumored as a contender to direct a Justice League movie, but the decision to put him in the Caped Crusader role comes as a shock. Many fans hoped that WB would find a way to bring back Christian Bale. That hope is now gone.

The official release from WB:

BURBANK, CA, August 22, 2013 - Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Affleck has been set to star as Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne. Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder's as-yet-untitled project-bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director's vision of their universe, which he established in "Man of Steel." The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.

Last month's surprise announcement of the new movie featuring both Superman and Batman created a wave of excitement and immediately fueled discussion and debate-among fans as well as in the media-about who would put on the cape and cowl of Bruce Wayne's alter ego.

Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster "Man of Steel," which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing. The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.

Affleck will star opposite Henry Cavill, who will reprise the role of Superman/Clark Kent. The film will also reunite "Man of Steel" stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

In the announcement, Silverman stated, "We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics' most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character."

Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, "Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry's Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can't wait to work with him."

Kroll added, "We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.' remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes."

Affleck recently starred in the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture "Argo," which he also directed and produced, earning acclaim and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in the film, as well as a number of directing honors. In 2010, he starred in and directed the hit crime thriller "The Town." His recent acting work also includes "The Company Men," "State of Play," and "Hollywoodland," for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Earlier in his career, Affleck starred in and co-wrote (with Matt Damon) "Good Will Hunting," for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.

The new Super Hero film is being scripted by David S. Goyer from a story he co-created with Zack Snyder. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan and Wesley Coller serving as executive producers.

Production is expected to begin in 2014.

The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.


GERMANY: 'Elysium' Leads in Debut on August 21, 2013

Elysium-still.jpgElysium finished its German premiere at the top of the box office with a $3.1 million total. The sci-fi film starring Matt Damon played in nearly half as many screens as The Smurfs 2, the weekend's #2 film, and led the per-screen average in the territory with a $4,977 tally.

The Smurfs 2 is vying to overtake the $29.3 million gross of the original. The animated sequel has grossed $12.6 million after three weeks in release. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters fell shy of reaching the opening weekend of the franchise's previous installment with a $2.1 million bow. The original Percy Jackson film opened to $2.3 million in Germany in 2010.

The Lone Ranger fell 49% in its second frame for a $1.8 million tally. The troubled Disney release has grossed a total of $6.9 million in Germany. Despicable Me 2 is still putting up million dollar numbers after seven weeks in release. The Minions claimed a $1.1 million take to raise its German cume to $32.4 million.

Top 10 Films in Germany. August 16-18, 2013


FRANCE: 'Elysium' Dethrones 'Now You See Me' on August 21, 2013

Elysium-still.jpgElysium triumphed over the Percy Jackson sequel to lead the French box office over the weekend. A $4.1 million bow from the Matt Damon sci-fi film was enough to overtake the $3.8 million opening of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and dethrone Now You See Me from the #1 spot in its third week. Now You See Me finished its third frame with $2.6 million, reaching a $16.6 million cume in France.

The Smurfs 2 felll 50% from the previous weekend to post a $1.7 million result. The Smurfs 2 has grossed a total of $11.5 million over three weeks. The Lone Ranger was the only other release to gross over the $1 milllion mark last weekend, finishing its first hold with a $1.6 million take. The Lone Ranger is struggling in France with a $6.4 million total.

Top 10 Films in France. August 16-18, 2013


GLOBAL: 'Despicable Me 2' On Track to Become the Second Biggest Film of 2013; 'Pacific Rim' Posts Higher Numbers in China than in North America on August 18, 2013

DM2StillA.jpgDespicable Me 2 will overtake Fast & Furious 6 at the global box office, a feat that could come as early as next weekend. Fast 6 and Despicable Me 2 only trail Iron Man 3 as the year's most successful films at the global box office. The two films have been a major part in Universal's record-breaking year, helping the studio post the biggest overseas numbers in their history.

A strong $64.8 million run in China helped Fast 6 cross the $500 million overseas mark, a crucial component in its current $547 million overseas total. Fast 6 finished the weekend with a $785.4 million global total.

The Minions are not far behind. Universal's animated sequel reached a $435.2 million total over the weekend and is in striking distance of Fast 6's worldwide cume with a $781.2 million global total. Unlike Fast 6, Despicable Me 2 will have to finish its overseas run without a release in China.

Despicable Me 2 opened in Russia on Friday with $12.2 million, the second biggest opening for a Universal release in the market behind Fast 6. The strong Russian performance is four times higher than the original film's opening and is 2013's biggest animated debut in the market. Despicable Me 2 will open in 9 more territories over the next few months, including South Korea (September 12), Japan (September 21) and Italy (October 10). A worldwide cume above $800 million is only a matter of time for the Minions.

Monsters University is also part of the conversation among the year's top grossing global releases. The Pixar prequel has earned $397.5 million overseas and is currently reporting a $658.6 million worldwide total. The film is posting blockbuster numbers in Japan, where it has already grossed $78.6 million. The United Kingdom is the second biggest territory for the animated release with $40.2 million. Monsters University will open in Italy and China next weekend, and will have its last major market debut in South Korea on September 12.

Disney's Planes won't be able to replicate the same success as its latest Pixar venture. Planes posted a $2.9 million opening in the U.K. and a $2.4 million debut in Spain over the weekend. The DisneyToon production has earned a total of $7.3 million from 9 overseas territories. The film's global total is a modest $20.4 million. Planes opens in Greece, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Turkey, Philippines, Hong Kong and India next weekend. Planes will have to bring in a better performance across the board in order to make potential sequels more viable for the studio.

Any hopes from Disney for a new franchise in The Lone Ranger were extinguished with a lackluster response from critics and audiences alike. The Lone Ranger is one of the year's biggest disappointments after grossing $130.1 million overseas and reporting a $217.8 million global cume. The top markets for The Lone Ranger are Russia ($15.9M), Japan ($15.8M), Mexico ($10M), and Australia ($9.6M). The film has been a bigger flop in the U.K. than in North America; The Lone Ranger opened in fifth place in the United Kingdom last weekend and is reporting a $5.3 million total after two weeks in release.

Pacific Rim has now grossed more in China than in North America. Guillermo del Toro's high concept blockbuster didn't connect with audiences in the U.S. & Canada, where it has only grossed $98.4 million over six weeks. China has single-handedly lifted the global box office figures for the sci-fi film, contributing $100.1 million to its $286 million overseas cume. The global box office total for Pacific Rim is $384.4 million. The other top overseas markets aren't anywhere near the Chinese total; Pacific Rim has grossed $20.5 million in Russia, $18 million in South Korea, $15.8 million in Mexico, and $12.5 million in the U.K. 

World War Z is still raging around the globe. The zombie flick earned an additional $4.3 million from 2,306 screens in 43 markets over its 9th weekend, reaching a $319.3 million overseas cume. Japan is the weekend's top market with a $2.35 million hold from 342 locations, taking the Japanese total for World War Z to $12.4 million. World War Z has grossed over a half-billion dollars worldwide, currently posting a global cume of $517.6 million.

Paramount has to be happy about the film's overall performance at the box office, proving popular with audiences despite well publicized production problems that threatened to make the film one of 2013's most expensive flops. World War Z might not prove profitable for the studio, but it does come as a positive sign for potential sequels on a smaller budget. Low budget thrillers have impressed this summer season with films like The Purgeand The Conjuring get a high ROI for producers.

The Purge was reportedly made with a $3 million budget and has already grossed $83.6 million worldwide. The thriller starring Ethan Hawke has earned $19.2 million of that figure overseas, where it is currently in release in 14 territories with 15 more slated to open in the coming months. The Conjuring is an even bigger hit with a $193.1 million worldwide total after a reportedly being made with a $50 million budget. The top markets forThe Conjuring are the United Kingdom ($12.4M), Russia ($9.6M), Australia ($7.4M), and Spain ($6.9M). The Conjuring has grossed a total of $65.3 million from 20 overseas markets and has a number of more top markets on the horizon. If the studios are paying attention, smaller films like these could signal a new trend towards profitability rather than the current swing-to-the-fences high-risk/high-budget bets that have produced numerous flops this summer season. 

Kick-Ass 2 isn't expected to put up blockbuster numbers in the global box office but a limited overseas release is coming up with interesting results. The sequel opened in 110 screens in Mexico, a small screen count in the market, and outperformed the original by 50% with a $250k debut. The United Kingdom is the best performing market for the sequel, where the film opened in second place with $4 million in 482 locations. Kick-Ass 2 has a $6.3 million overseas total from 17 territories and a $21.6 million global cume from its day-and-date roll-out.

We're the Millers began its overseas run with $10.6 million from 13 markets. The ensemble comedy scored a $6.8 million opening in Russia after factoring in a week's worth of preview screenings. The film opens in the United Kingdom next weekend, followed by key premieres in Germany (August 29), Mexico (September 6), Italy (September 12), France (September 18), Brazil (September 27), and Spain (October 11). We're the Millers will hope to have similar success to the strong numbers emanating from The Heat. Paul Feig's comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy has grossed $50.2 million from 18 overseas markets and is currently reporting a $205.6 million global cume.

Elysium expanded to 20 new territories and finished the weekend with a $37.7 million overseas total and $93.6 million global cume. The film opened in first place across a number of major markets, including France ($4.1M), Spain ($3.3M), and Australia ($3.2M), and Germany ($3.2M). Elysium opens in the United Kingdom next weekend. 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters finished first in 10 of its 36 markets this weekend. The adventure flick has now grossed an overseas total of $46.5 million. Brazil led the new markets with a $3.9 million opening, followed by France with $3.6 million, and Germany with $2.1 million. The Percy Jackson sequel will expand to 11 additional markets next weekend, including a potentially big pay-day in Russia. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has grossed $75.4 million worldwide.

The Wolverine continues slashing its way through the overseas box office with a $216.4 million total. The superhero spin-off is only trailing the $225 million lifetime gross of X: Men The Last Stand to become the highest grossing entry in the X-Men franchise overseas. Top markets for the film include Russia ($21.7M), the U.K ($20M), and Brazil ($19.5M).

A $20 million push from the overseas box office helped The Smurfs 2 cross the $200 million global mark. The animated sequel is finding a hard time replicating the success of the original but has already reached the $150 million overseas mark. Audiences in North America, however, aren't as excited to see the Smurfs' second big screen adventure after contributing a mere $56.9 million to the film's total gross.

Follow Daniel Loria and BoxOffice on Twitter for more news and analysis on the global box office. 

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