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updated: 9/2/2013 9:08 AM

'One Direction' caps record summer box office

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Bloomberg News

"One Direction: This Is Us," the concert documentary on the British boy band, led the box office at U.S. and Canadian theaters over the Labor Day weekend, capping a record summer for Hollywood.

"This Is Us" collected $17 million over three days for Sony Corp., researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said in a statement. "Lee Daniels' The Butler" fell to second after two weeks at No. 1.

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Tomorrow's holiday closes out Hollywood's biggest movie season, when studios release many major blockbusters. Ticket sales are estimated by Hollywood.com to total $4.71 billion, up 10 percent from last summer and surpassing 2011's all-time high of $4.4 billion, despite misses like "The Lone Ranger."

"This has been a huge summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com-Box Office, in an interview. "It's amazing, especially after coming off so many big-budget tent- pole flops."

"One Direction: This Is Us," made for an estimated $10 million, was projected to take $22 million in its first four days, according to Boxoffice.com.

About the popular band mentored by pop impresario Simon Cowell, "One Direction" follows Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne on a 150-date world tour. Tracing the boys' hometown beginnings, it's a mix of live concert footage with behind-the-scenes shots.

"The Butler" collected $14.7 million to bring its total to $74 million over three weeks. The movie, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, is distributed by Weinstein Co.

Surprise hit "We're the Millers", finished in third, with $12.6 million, and crossed the $100 million mark.

Record Haul

Bankable sequels like "Iron Man 3" and "Fast & Furious 6" contributed to the record haul. The animated "Despicable Me 2," made for $76 million, has collected $354.6 million in domestic theaters for Universal Pictures since its opening on July 3, according to Box Office Mojo -- second only to Walt Disney Co.'s "Iron Man" sequel among releases since May.

"The biggest films are getting increasingly bigger and the vulnerability for everyone else is growing," Christopher Meledandri, producer of "Despicable Me 2," said in an interview.

"Fast & Furious 6," the latest of the car-chase sagas, has generated $238.6 million domestically.

Other summer movies that have topped $200 million in the U.S. include "Man of Steel" from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., "Monsters University" from Disney and "Star Trek Into Darkness" from Paramount.

Studios, Theater Split

Studios typically split box-office revenue with theater owners, then collect later fees from outlets such as DVD sales, cable-channel play and on-demand viewing. After production and marketing costs, few movies make back their investment while in theaters.

This summer, some big-budget movies flopped, including Johnny Depp's "The Lone Ranger" and Sony's "After Earth" with Will Smith. Studios may be more selective in the future about releasing expensive movies that aren't sequels, Dergarabedian said.

"The Lone Ranger," made for about $225 million, has generated $88.1 million domestically. Disney, based in Burbank, California, will record a loss of as much as $190 million on the film this quarter. "After Earth, made for $130 million according to Box Office Mojo, has collected $60.5 million in the U.S.

Hits Offset Misses

"There were enough hits to more than offset the misses. Even the films that didn't meet expectations contributed to this record total," said Dergarabedian.

"Getaway," a new release from Warner Bros. starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, took in $4.5 million for ninth place.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 8.5 percent to $92.8 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Attendance year to date is down 2.3 percent, while revenue has risen 1 percent.

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