Box Office: 'One Direction,' 'The Butler' Now in Close Labor Day Race
Trailer Report: One Direction's 'This Is Us' Debuts at No. 1
Showing potent staying power, Lee Daniels' The Butler is catching up with Sony/TriStar's One Direction: This Is Us at the Labor Day box office.
Either way, One Direction is no slouch. Morgan Spurlock's 3D concert film about the hit British boy band has grossed $17 million in its first three days to top the three-day chart, putting it on course to score one of the best Labor Day openings of all time. The film, costing a modest $10 million to make, is a needed win for Sony and restores some luster to the concert documentary genre.
Opening overseas as well, One Direction grossed $12.6 million from 53 markets -- including a No. 1 debut in the U.K. with $5.7 million.
Still, there's now a chance that The Butler could narrowly beat One Direction in the U.S. for the official four-day holiday weekend (each film is pacing to gross in the $19 million to $20 million range). If so, The Butler -- grossing $14.7 million for the Friday-Sunday stretch -- becomes the first film of 2013 to come in No. 1 three weekends in a row, while it's projected domestic gross through Sunday is an impressive $78.7 million.
One Direction, opening in more than 2,500 theaters domestically and receiving an A CinemaScore, is produced by Spurlock and Simon Cowell, who first assembled the boy band -- comprising Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson -- after the musicians appeared as solo acts on the U.K.'s The X Factor.
The film was the result of collaboration among various divisions of the sprawling Sony Corp. empire, including the feature film division, music and electronics. Spurlock used Sony's newly-launched F55 4K camera to shoot One Direction, with a special crew of technicians from Japan aiding the filmmakers in integrating the new camera technology into their production process.
The concert documentary genre reached a low in July 2012 with the $7.2 million debut of Katy Perry concert doc Part of Me. A high was set in 2008 when Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana concert film Best of Both Worlds opened to $31 million, while Justin Bieber's concert doc Never Say Never debuted to $29.5 million February 2011.
Among the three other new Labor Day entries, Lionsgate and Pantelion's Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included is the only one to prosper. Playing in only 347 theaters, the movie is holding at No. 5 with a three-day opening of $7.5 million and stellar four-day debut of $9.3 million-plus.
Instructions Not Included -- boosted by a rare A+ CinemaScore -- marks the biggest opening ever for a Spanish-language film in North America. And it is already the highest-grossing film in Pantelion's history. Pantelion is a joint venture of Lionsgate and Televisa.
Getaway, starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, is D.O.A. with an estimated three-day gross of $4.5 million and four-day gross of $5.5 million. The movie, one of the worst reviewed films of all time, did no better with moviegoers, who gave it a C+.