Was It The Oprah Effect? Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ Lands Box Office No. 1

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oprah the butler

Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and the rest of the all-star cast for Lee Daniels’ The Butler served up some box office success this weekend. The civil-rights drama about the true story of White House butler Eugene Allen nabbed at the top spot with $25 million.

According to Forbes, the Weinstein Company “successfully undersold the film’s opening weekend potential, so now this somewhat expected $25m debut is now a ‘surprise’ and ‘over-performing’ compared to the studio projects of just $15m.”

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Playing in just 2,933 theaters, ‘The Butler’ out-performed the weekend’s three other critically-acclaimedd releases: superhero comedy Kick-Ass 2,  Steve Jobs biopic Jobs and thriller Paranoia.

Erik Lomis, president of theatrical distribution and home entertainment for Weinstein Co, said he knows the Oprah effect contributed to the film’s success.

“Oprah Winfrey is a huge factor as to why this movie was so popular,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “People really want to see her, and she worked very hard on it.”

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According to reports, 76% of the audience was over the age of 35.  Lomis added that an older demographic was expected.

“I think we trended older because of the subject matter — the fact that it’s based on a true story interests a more educated, sophisticated crowd,” he explained.

Check out the weekends top 10 movies below:

1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler, $25 million
2. We’re the Millers, $17.8 million
3. Elysium, $13.6 million
4. Kick-Ass 2, $13.6 million
5. Planes, $13.1 million
6. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, $8.4 million
7. Jobs, $6.7 million
8. 2 Guns, $5.6 million
9. The Smurfs 2, $4.6 million
10. The Wolverine, $4.4 million

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