The first shaky reports of the Labor Day holiday box office taking couldn't decide whether Lee Daniel's The Butler or Morgan Spurlock's One Direction documentary This Is Us had sold the most movie tickets across the weekend, so neck and neck they were for a while.

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Initially, it did look as though the 1D concert documentary would race ahead, with a predicted $21 million in takings. However, the boyband movie performed well, raking in $18 million but not well enough to overtake The Butler's massive earnings of $20 million. Not only did the two films collectively help made this year's Labor Day the highest earning ever, with $156 million, compared to 2007's $148 million, reports THR, but  the weekend also helped contribute to a record breaking summer where an incredible $4.7 billion was taken thanks to a wide array of film to entice filmgoers.

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Coming in at third place, Warner Bros. drugs comedy We're The Millers did surprisingly well, earning $15.9 million and proving quiet the crowd pleaser for those who didn't want a film as heavy as The Butler and weren't fans of One Direction.

Some films didn't do nearly as well as others however, with some summer blockbusters being squished at the box office. Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez's high-octane driving thriller, Getaway, matched its bad reviews by taking just $5.5 million over the holiday weekend, despite only having opened last Wednesday. Political thriller Closed Circuit, starring Eric Bana, similarly flopped, scraping $3.5 million in what was a particularly hotly contested weekend.

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In another first, The Butler has also become the first film of 2013 to stay at the top of the charts for three consecutive weeks. So why did people across the US flock to see the stirring Lee Daniels drama over the past four days? To relax into their holiday, it seemed filmgoers were looking for a meatier watch that the flopped action movies that failed to perform to expectations.

Oprah Winfrey Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker & Oprah Winfrey Make For Electric Viewing.

The Butler's success is being attributed to its all-star cast, including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Mariah Carey and John Cusack, who, instead of overpowering the storyline with their star-factor and pizazz, instead make the drama about a White House butler intensely watchable. Furthermore, Labor Day - a commemoration of the United States' social history - may have encouraged Americans to go and watch a movie that reflected some of the themes of the weekend and served as an important reminder of the monumental events that occurred during the latter half of the 20th century.

Instead of heading out to watch a light-hearted concert documentary or a drugs comedy, it looks as though a greater proportion of fans opted for the thought-provoking The Butler. Did you?