LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The North American box office over the weekend was dominated by "The Butler", a biopic featuring what was happening at the White House throughout eight U.S. presidencies, as the film has drawn more enthusiastic moviegoers than expected, enabling it to outperform three other new wide releases.
Lee Daniels' "The Butler", a Weinstein Company release starring Forest Whitaker as an African-American White House butler and Oprah Winfrey as his wife, is projected to roll up 25 million U.S. dollars in ticket receipts from Friday through Sunday. The film, shown at 2,933 multiplexes in the United States and Canada, netted from its debut less than the anticipated 30 million U.S. dollars for opening, but it was good enough to eclipse other new releases and a bunch of holdovers.
The drama, based on the real-life account of Eugene Allen, focuses on the butler who eyewitnessed notable events of the 20th century during his 34-year tenure. The pre-screen wrangle over the title and especially Oprah Winfrey's star power have helped the flick to win over critics and audience.
It earned a 73 percent approval rating on critic reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and a coveted "A" CinemaScore from first night moviegoers.
"We Are the Millers," a Warner Bros.' screwball comedy starring Jennifer Aniston opposite Saturday Night Live actor Jason Sudeiki took in 17.8 million dollars in revenues to finish in the second place, going down 33 percent from the week before. The film has grossed 69.5 million dollars since it debuted on Aug. 7.
Last week's top grosser, Sony/TriStar's sci-fi actioner " Elysium" finished in the third place with a 13.6 million dollars in box office for the weekend. The futuristic dystopian thriller, starring Matt Damon and Judie Foster, is on track for a 55.9 million dollar two-week cumulative receipt.
"Kick-Ass 2," Universal's sequel to the 2010 movie about would- be superheroes, opened at the fourth place with 13.6 million dollars in box office from 2,940 theaters. The "B+" CinemaScore average rating and 29 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes it garnered should not help it a lot.
Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend, as estimated by studios, were "Planes" (13.1 million U. S. dollars), "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" (8.4 million), " Jobs" (6.7 million), "2 Guns" (5.6 million), "The Smurfs 2" ( 4.6 million), and "The Wolverine" (4.4 million).