October 25, 2016
        Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams        

Weekend Box Office: The Help is still on top

HollywoodNews.com: Summer must be over, as grownups as seemingly returning to the marketplace. In what was always going to be a light moviegoing holiday weekend, the low-key adult thriller (on 1,826 screens) defeated the more heavily advertised and wider-playing genre entries. First of all, The Help once again topped the box office for the third weekend in a row ($18 million for its four-day holiday weekend, with a $14.2 million Fri-Sun total, dipping just 2.3% from last weekend).

I’m not sure what the record is for the most consecutive weekends at number one for a movie that did not debut in first place, but the crowd-pleasing period drama has to be high on the would-be list. With $122 million in a month come tomorrow, the film now sits as the eighth-highest grossing drama of all-time released in the summer, a list that becomes even shorter when you discount war-themed action pictures (Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, Gladiator). It is still outpacing Bridesmaids by a significant margin ($106 million after four weekends) and could very well flirt with $180 million if it can hold onto screens and fend off adult-skewing pictures (Warrior, Contagion, Moneyball) in the next month.

The somewhat surprising story of the weekend was the excellent performance of Focus Features’ The Debt. The relatively well-reviewed film stars Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Ciarán Hinds, Marton Csokas, and Tom Wilkinson in a time-jumping thriller (a remake of an Israeli film from 2007) about the hunt for a Nazi war criminal. The film opened with $9.7 million over Fri-Sun and about $12 million for the four-day holiday, and a $14 million total since opening on Wednesday. To be honest, I genuinely disliked the picture, finding it poorly paced and relatively unengaging after the first half.

Plus, minor note, it was a bit confusing. Sam Worthington looked more like a young Tom Wilkinson than a young Ciarán Hinds, and Marton Csokas looked EXACTLY like a young Ciarán Hinds, yet he played the young Tom Wilkinson, leaving me waiting for a climactic twist that never came. Having said that, this is just the kind of movie I like to see the studios releasing: adult-skewing, adult-starring, and R-rated purely because it is a film for adults with adult sensibilities (why that is a rare thing since 2001 – HERE). So this opening, which is just above the $10.9 million four-day debut of The Constant Gardner (review) back in Labor Day 2005, is among the top-ten Labor Day debuts of all-time and a fine start for a film that could have easily been lost in the shuffle.

Photo by Dreamworks Pictures

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About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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