‘The Butler’ Looks To Clean Up Box Office Over ‘Kick-Ass 2′

Neither Liam Hemsworth's 'Paranoia' nor Ashton Kutcher's 'Jobs' has a shot at #1.

The massive success of “Iron Man 3″ proved that the demand for superhero movies hasn’t slowed down, but that doesn’t mean “Kick-Ass 2″ is a sure thing at the box office. The action-comedy sequel, based on Mark Millar’s comics, may very well be beaten by a historical drama. Going into the weekend, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” had the edge among industry forecasters.

The real-life tale of longtime White House butler Eugene Allen (played by Forest Whitaker) should open somewhere between $20 million and $25 million. The movie’s prospects are greatly enhanced by the star-power of Oprah Winfrey, who makes her first scripted appearance in a live action film since 1998′s “Beloved.” “The Butler” is by far the best reviewed of the major films entering theaters this weekend, with “Kick-Ass 2,” “Jobs” and “Paranoia” all enduring “rotten” critical averages on RottenTomatoes. Liam Hemsworth’s “Paranoia” suffered the worst of it, amassing just 4 percent on the Tomatometer.

“Kick-Ass 2″ will most likely debut in the high-teens or even slightly past $20 million, on par with the $19.8 million opening weekend of the 2010 original. The satirical story of normal teens who become costumed vigilantes made just $48.1 million during its run, but it helped turn Chloe Grace Moretz into a star and found new fans on DVD and on-demand services. Jim Carrey tweeted that he would not promote the ultra-violent sequel in the wake of his evolving views on gun control. But co-stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who plays the title character) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (the film’s main villain) nevertheless praised Carrey’s “passion” and performance in “Kick-Ass 2″ during MTV’s live stream at San Diego Comic-Con.

Aaron Sorkin is working on a script about late Apple visionary Steve Jobs, but it’s Ashton Kutcher’s biopic that crossed the theatrical finish line first. The AV Club gave it “points for ambition” but likened the end result to “a made-for-TV movie.”

Industry prognosticators put the opening weekend for “Jobs” around $8 million, which won’t be enough to crack the top five thanks to holdovers from last weekend like “We’re The Millers,” “Elysium” and Disney’s “Planes.”

“Paranoia” will debut outside the top five as well, despite Hemsworth being supported by Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman in the corporate espionage thriller. “Paranoia” was directed by Robert Luketic, better known for comedies like “Legally Blonde,” “Monster-In-Law” and “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” Luketic also directed the star of “Jobs” in the 2010 dud, “Killers.”

Like each of the two weekends before it, next weekend will see four new films headed to theaters: Nicolas Cage’s “The Frozen Ground,” horror flick “You’re Next,” R-rated dramedy “Drinking Buddies” and Edgar Wright’s “The World’s End.”