Lee Daniels' The Butler topped the weekend box office for the second weekend in a row, raking in an additional $17 million to total more than $50 million in domestic ticket sales.
The film has benefitted from overwhelmingly positive word-of-mouth, Oscar buzz for lead actors Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey and critical raves. Unlike opening weekend, when the film was bolstered by support from Black audiences, this time other groups turned out in droves, making up 55 percent of the audience according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Butler has also been supported by publicity generated by Winfrey. The beloved talk show queen and media mogul has been more frank than ever about her thoughts on race relations, revealing an incident of racial profiling at a Swiss boutique and sharing her thoughts on the N-word.
The star also revealed to HipHollywood.com that she had stayed away from another offensive word before shooting The Butler as well. “I don’t think I’ve ever used the B-word,” said Winfrey. “I’ve never called anybody a b**** my whole life, so it was kind of fun.”
Lee Daniels, meanwhile, is in the midst of a career high. The director is being applauded for successfully executing an epic film with a massive ensemble cast, and may be up for another Oscar nomination. Daniels' dance card is filling up fast. He has hinted at several upcoming projects, including a biopic of Janis Joplin, a big screen revival of Broadway hit Miss Saigon and, of all things, a horror movie.
Regardless of what he chooses to do next, his days of struggling to get films made are likely over.
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(Photo: The Weinstein Company)