The Help Needs No Help at the Box Office
HollywoodNews.com: As expected, the summer reached its climax this weekend with an ugly pileup, as four new releases failed to achieve anything resembling success, with three of those releases being in 3D and two of them chasing the exact same demographics. Why oh why did Lionsgate and Disney open Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night on the same weekend?. With the new releases eating each other alive, The Help snuck into the number one slot during its second weekend. Dropping just 21% compared to the Fri-Sun portion of its opening weekend, The Help earned $20.4 million and now sits with a twelve-day total of $71.8 million. This is the very definition of an old-fashioned leggy hit, but in today’s front-loaded marketplace, it almost qualifies as a sensation. $100 million is guaranteed at this point, the question now merely remains how far over/under $150 million it ends up and/or how much the film will factor in the year-end awards races. Viola Davis is a lock for an Oscar nomination (but will her lead performance get placed in the leading or supporting category) and the film is in a pretty good place for a Best Picture nomination. It would be a lock under the old 10-nominees system, and said two-year experiment was dismantled partially out of the desire to keep such ‘popular entertainments’ (IE – well-reviewed films that mainstream audiences actually enjoyed… horrors!) out of the field.
Coming in at second place was not any of the new releases, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The (again) well-reviewed and well-liked franchise reboot pulled in another $16.3 million in its third weekend. It sits with $133 million after seventeen days. Again, back in the old days, this would have been just a regular old-fashioned hit film. But in today’s insanely front-loaded marketplace, the film qualifies as a leggy winner. It’s respective seventeen-day total puts it just under Thor ($145 million) and Captain America ($143 million), both of which were in 3D and both of which cost about 50% more than the Fox franchise reboot. Its $134 million total after three weekends exceeds X-Men: First Class ($120 million), I, Robot ($115 million), and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra ($120 million). And it’s quickly catching up to Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, which had earned $148 million by this point in time. So yes, we’ll probably be seeing another one of these in 2-3 years (Passion of the Planet of the Apes, perhaps?).
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