Lee Daniels’ The Butler restored supremacy at the top of the North American charts as a record four-day Labor Day weekend wrapped up a record $4.7bn summer.

The estimated $156m Labor Day session trumped the previous best of $148m set in 2007 and concluded the biggest summer at the box office, beating 2011’s $4.4bn haul and dismissing misguided midsummer jeremiads about a handful of US flops.

While The Lone Ranger, After Earth, R.I.P.D., Pacific Rim, White House Down and The Smurfs 2 disappointed, there were far more successes than failures.

Iron Man 3, Man Of Steel, The Great Gatsby, World War Z, Fast & Furious 6, Despicable Me 2, The Wolverine, Monsters University, Star Trek Into The Darkness, The Heat, The Conjuring and Now You See Me all excelled and drove the season towards an all-time high.

As always, inflation and 3D ticket premiums played a role in the record summer and admissions numbers were not available at time of writing.

Meanwhile TWC’s release, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, became the first title of the year to stay top for three consecutive weekends as an estimated $20m elevated the tally to $79.3m.

Morgan Spurlock’s documentary One Direction: This Is Us, about the eponymous UK-Irish pop sensation, finished at number two on an estimated $18m through Sony’s TriStar label over four days.

Lionsgate/Pantelion’s Spanish-language comedy drama Instructions Not Included opened at number five on an extraordinary $10.3m in 347. The result illustrates the rewards that await distributors who engage with the active Hispanic market.

Warner Bros’ Ethan Hawke thriller Getaway flopped at number 10 on $5.5m.

Next weekend’s post-summer wide release is the action sequel Riddick starring Vin Diesel through Universal.

Estimated Top 10 North America Aug 30–Sept 2 2013
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (1) Lee Daniel’s The Butler (TWC) WTC Int’l $20m $79.3m

2 (-) One Direction: This Is Us (Sony/TriStar) SPRI $18m –

3 (2) We’re The Millers (Warner Bros) WBPI $16.3m $113.3m

4 (5) Planes (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $10.5m $73.6m

5 (-) Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate) Lionsgate Int’l $10.3m –

6 (7) Elysium (Sony TriStar-MRC) SPRI $8.2m $80.4m

7 (3) The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (Screen Gems) Mister Smith $6.8m $24.3m

8 (4) The World’s End (Focus Features) UPI $6.5m $18.4m

9 (8) Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (Fox) Fox Int’l $5.9m $56.5m

10 (-) Getaway (Warner Bros) WBPI $5.5m –