It took an intergalactic saga to do it, but the surprise run of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” atop the box office charts was stopped this week by the sci-fi sequel “Riddick.” Starring
"The Butler" had spent the previous three weeks as the box-office winner, and this week came in second place, bringing in an additional $8.9 million for a new total of nearly $92 million.
"Riddick" is the third live-action feature with Diesel as the character, and though the 2000 film "Pitch Black" was only somewhat of a modest success at the time, it built a reputation as a cult favorite in large part on the back of Diesel's character. The 2004 sequel "The Chronicles of Riddick" was a box-office flop and so the series was put on the shelf.
"His audience, they adore him," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of domestic distribution on Diesel's ongoing appeal. "I think he delivers to the action crowd."
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Diesel won back the rights to "Riddick" as part of his deal when he agreed to reprise his role from "The Fast and the Furious" for the sequel "Tokyo Drift." In a recent interview with The Times, Diesel showed his business savvy when he said, "They gave me two franchises. One, 'Fast,' which they didn't think they'd ever produce again. And 'Riddick,' which they didn't want to produce ever again."
Third place for the weekend went to the Spanish-language film "Instructions Not Included," which expanded to 717 screens in its second weekend to bring in an estimated $8.1 million for a new total of $20.3 million.
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