Step aside Lee Daniels as the star power of Oprah Winfrey strikes again. But it was "Lee Daniels' The Butler" that wins the box office prize. It stars Oprah, but the lead is Forest Whitaker.
The choices were aplenty going in to the weekend and packed even before that so the money was spread around and a soft winner emerged. It was, however, a jobless effort for Ashton Kutcher in "Jobs." It finished well off the pace. In fact, it was not even in the race. It took in a paltry $6.7 million for seventh place.
1. "Lee Daniels' The Butler" - $25 million
2. "We're the Millers" - $17.7 million
3. "Elysium" - $13.6 million
4. "Kick-Ass 2" - $13.5 million
5. "Planes" - $13.1 million
With "Jobs" and "The Butler" come a look into history, but in different directions. Kutcher attempted to make Steve Jobs into his image while Whitaker's character is based on Eugene Allen. But Kutcher is Jobs in that biopic, while Whitaker becomes someone else (Cecil Gaines), the White House butler.
One could look at the numbers and wonder why they were not better. However, a win for a political movie such as this is very good and the cast is solid. A movie that is tailor-made for award season has set itself up nicely moving ahead. But, the mere fact that politics is here means it will fall flat on many fronts.
One main item was the casting of Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. The other, casting the Reagans in bad light once more, as Hollywood loves to do. Doing this surely alienates a large portion of a potential audience. But, it was Oprah that many felt was the selling point. According to Deadline, that was case.
"Kick Ass 2" kicked early and then sputtered as it got those early numbers as Friday approached. It could not compete even though many thought it could win. "Paranoia" got ignored despite starring Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford. It finished at No. 13 with $3.5 million.
In the last report, it was noted that it would be interesting to see where the previous week's films would finish. That indeed was on target as they held their ground with the new releases. "We're the Millers" held stronger than "Elysium," too. While none of the films lit up the night sky, three of the top five finished within $1 million of each other.