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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