By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Sept 8 Vin Diesel's return
as glowing-eyed space traveler "Riddick" won the weekend movie
race, ringing up $18.7 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales
and knocking three-time box office queen Oprah Winfrey to second
Civil rights drama "Lee Daniels' The Butler," starring Oscar
winner Forest Whitaker and media mogul Winfrey, slipped to
second, bringing in $8.9 million from Friday through Sunday.
"Instructions Not Included," a Spanish-language film
starring and directed by Mexican television star Eugenio Derbez,
was third with $8.1 million in its second week in release in
U.S. and Canadian theaters.
The movie doubled its reach to more than 700 theaters after
its limited debut a week ago set records for a Spanish film
opening in the United States. The film stars Derbez as an
Acapulco playboy forced to raise a baby girl left on his
Jennifer Aniston comedy "We're the Millers" took in $7.9
million for fourth place, followed by animated Disney film
"Planes" with $4.3 million.
Concert film "One Direction: This is Us," about the popular
British boy band, fell to the No. 6 slot with $4.1 million,
according to studio estimates.
While "Riddick" fell short of industry forecasts for a start
between $21 million and $24 million at domestic theaters,
distributor Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp
, had predicted a lower opening between $18 million and
"We're very comfortable with that (total)," said Nikki
Rocco, president of distribution for Universal Pictures.
"We were realistic about this project," she noted, adding
that "the fan base is here for (Diesel), so we're hoping it
hangs in there" in the coming weeks.
The movie was the only new nationwide release on the
post-Labor Day weekend, usually one of year's slowest at
theaters as summer blockbuster season ends and kids return to
Diesel promoted "Riddick" to the huge fan base on his
Facebook page, which has scored more than 46 million "likes."
The actor is best known for his role in the popular "Fast &
Furious" car-chase franchise. "Fast & Furious 6," released in
May, raced to nearly $790 million in global sales, ranking as
one of the year's biggest blockbusters.
"Riddick" is a sequel to 2000 release "Pitch Black" and
2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick."
In the new installment, Riddick, an ex-con who can see in
the dark, leaves his comfortable world as leader of the
Necromonger race to seek out his homeland. Once double-crossed
and left for dead, he battles beasts and bounty hunters while he
works to rebuild himself physically and morally.
"Riddick" was independently financed for $38 million.
"The Butler," released on Aug. 16, brought its cumulative
sales to $91.9 million. The movie starring Whitaker as a
long-serving White House butler and Winfrey as his hard-drinking
wife, topped box office rankings in its first two weekends and
again over the four-day Labor Day period.
Universal Pictures released "Riddick" in the United States,
and eOne Entertainment distributed the film in Canada. The
privately held Weinstein Company distributed "The Butler." Sony
Corp's movie studio released "One Direction."
"Instructions Not Included" was distributed by Pantelion, a
joint venture of Hollywood studio Lions Gate Entertainment
and Mexican media giant Televisa.
Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, released
"We're the Millers."