‘Butler’ tops N. America box office for second week

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This undated file film image provided by The Weinstein Company shows Oprah Winfrey as Gloria Gaines (left) and Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines in a scene from “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” served up another box office-topping weekend, earning $17 million according to studio estimates Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. AP

LOS ANGELES – US civil rights epic “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which is generating serious Oscar buzz, topped the North American box office for a second straight week, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The drama, based on the real-life story of an African American butler who witnessed decades of US history from within the White House walls, earned $17 million, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

Critics have hailed the performances of Forest Whitaker in the title role and Oprah Winfrey as his wife, giving the actors a leg up in the early race to the Academy Awards.

“We’re the Millers,” a dark comedy about pot-smuggling starring Jennifer Aniston as a stripper, moved up from third to second place with $13.5 million in ticket sales.

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” a teen-romance demon thriller about a girl who discovers dark secrets from her family’s past, debuted in third place at $9.3 million.

Another debut film, action disaster comedy “The World’s End,” opened in fourth place with $8.9 million in sales.

The newcomer pushed animated film “Planes,” a spin-off of the hugely successful “Cars” franchise, into fifth place at $8.6 million, just ahead of science-fiction thriller “Elysium,” which dropped to sixth place at $7.1 million.

“You’re Next,” a horror flick about a family weekend gone awry, opened in seventh place with $7.05 million.

“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” an adaptation based on the book series by Rick Riordan about a schoolboy who is the son of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, made $5.2 million, dropping to eighth place from sixth last week.

Woody Allen’s acclaimed drama “Blue Jasmine,” which stars Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin, earned $4.3 million, weighing in at ninth.

Superhero action comedy sequel “Kick-Ass 2″ rounded out the top 10 with $4.27 million.
Final figures are expected out Monday.

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