"Riddick", which sees Vin Diesel's return as glowing-eyed intergalactic ex-con, bags an estimated $18.7 million in North America during a slow weekend of the first September. While it may not be a staggering number, it's solid enough to take over the box office crown from the reigning champion "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and push the civil rights drama to the second place.
The sci-fi action pic was independently financed for $38 million with Universal picking up the U.S. distribution rights. The studio also released the first two films in the franchise. 2000's "Pitch Black" opened with $11.6M in January and finished with $39M, while 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick debuted with $24.3M in June and captured $58M in total.
Industry experts predicted that the newly-released threequel would open between $21 million to $24 million, but people at Universal were more modest in its estimate projecting between $18 million and $20 million. "Face it, this is never a great weekend. I was hoping Riddick would get to $20 million, but this is a great result," said Universal's distribution chief Nikki Rocco.
Getting a "B" CinemaScore, the David Twohy-directed movie has particularly drawn male and Hispanic audience with the former making up 59 percent and the latter contributing 37 percent of the overall viewers respectively. Universal is confident with Diesel's big-screen appeal "so we're hoping it hangs in there" in the coming weeks, so Rocco stated.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" which stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey among other big names settles at No. 2 with approximately $8.9 million. Marking the only film of 2013 to claim the weekend box-office leader for three consecutive weeks, the historical flick directed by Lee Daniels over a budget of $30 million has already crossed the $90 million mark.
Spanish-language dramedy "Instructions Not Included" climbs two spots to the third place its second week following an expanded U.S. run. It collects an estimated $8.1 million, bringing its total domestic cume to $20.3 million so far. R-rated pot-smuggling comedy "We're the Millers" starring Jennifer Aniston follows with approximately $7.9M, pushing to a total gross of $123.8M.
Rounding up the top 5 is new animated Disney film "Planes". Voiced by the likes of Dane Cook, Priyanka Chopra and Cedric the Entertainer, the family-oriented film occupies the spot with an estimated $4.3 million. After five weekends in theaters, it has flown away with $79.3 million domestically and $121 million internationally.