​One Direction Edges Out The Butler to Top Box Office​​

September 2, 2021

One Direction: This is Us, a film about a popular British boy band, pushes out The Butler from the top spot of the U.S. holiday weekend box. The movie clinched the number one spot with ticket sales of $17 million.

Lee Daniels’ civil rights drama starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, which had held the top spot for two weeks straight, came in second with $14.7 million.

Warner Bros.’ comedy “We’re the Millers,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, was third with $12.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

The numbers did not include projected sales for Monday’s Labor Day holiday.

Sony’s music documentary of One Direction’s early lead could bring in an estimated $20.5 million in four days, enough to beat “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which the Weinstein Co. projects will earn $19.5 million Friday-Monday.

The weekend’s race for box office bragging rights will be a photo finish: It’s very likely that the two films could switch rankings when studios release their revised four-day estimates on Monday. If “The Butler” winds up winning, it will be the first film this year to be No. 1 at the box office for three straight weekends.

“I definitely think they’re both in the $20 million-plus range for the four days,” admitted Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer. “But it’s all good really.”

Indeed, the weekend perf for “One Direction,” a low-risk venture for Sony, positions the film well financially, especially with an additional $14.5 million from overseas this weekend.

The film, which cost just $10 million to produce, represents an interesting cross-divisional project primarily for Sony Pictures and Sony Music, which represents the Brit-pop boy band. Not surprisingly, the docu earned 87% of its opening from women, with 67% of the audience under 17.

For “The Butler,” meanwhile, the holiday weekend — which likely saw a bump in traffic for some films due to the nationwide heat wave — proved better-than-expected since the film fell just 11% over the three days. So far, the film has broadened demographically, with $74 million and counting domestically.