Weekend Box Office – THE HELP Jumps to First with $20 Million, Topping All New Releases

     August 21, 2011


After two weeks on top, Rise of the Planet of the Apes swapped places with last week’s number two The Help on top of the weekend box office.  That left places 3-5 for the major new releases, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, Conan the Barbarian, and Fright Night.  Even One Day managed only a middling per-screen average in its smaller release.  Details after the jump.

Title Friday Total
1 The Help $20,479,000 $71.8
2 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $16,300,000 $133.8
3 Spy Kids 4 $12,020,000 $12.0
4 Conan the Barbarian $10,000,000 $10.0
5 Fright Night $8,300,000 $8.3
6 The Smurfs $8,000,000 $117.7
7 Final Destination 5 $7,705,000 $32.2
8 30 Minutes or Less $6,300,000 $25.8
9 One Day $5,127,567 $5.1
10 Crazy, Stupid, Love $4,950,000 $64.4

The-Help-movie-posterThe Help is officially a big hit for Disney and looks like it will have legs for the rest of the summer, too.  This weekend’s total is a mere 21% decline from last weekend.  That number is a bit inflated because the movie opened on a Wednesday, but still impressive no matter the circumstances.  The Help will easily surpass $100 million—I am curious to see if the combination of acclaim and commercial success can propel the drama to Oscar buzz that doesn’t come easy to August releases.

Though Rise of the Planet of the Apes may get a technical nomination or two, Fox may have to settle for the hundreds of millions it pulls in worldwide.  The movie has grossed $134 million domestically, and will approach $200 million by the end of its run.  $300 million worldwide is a certainty, and $400 million is not out of the question.  It’s not often we see two critical favorites as diverse Apes and The Help maintain this kind of power over the box office.  This feels nice.

Said power is bad news for the new releases, though.  Spy Kids 4 performed the best, relatively speaking, with $12 million—not nearly enough to revive the Spy Kids franchise, though.  Spy Kids 3D: Game Over opened to $33 million in July 2003 on its way to $112 million.  Even with all the time in the world, the new Spy Kids has no chance at that, or even the previous series-low $86 million of Spy Kids 2.  Maybe this will light the fire under director Robert Rodriguez to finally make the oft-promised sequel to Sin City.

On the other end of the MPAA spectrum, this week’s two R-rated releases also disappointed.  Conan‘s $10.5 million casts serious doubt on the reported sequel.  And Fright Night proves that not every vampire tale and/or remake is an out-of-the-box hit these days with its $8.8 million gross.  One Day opened in 1,719 theaters, at least a thousand less than the other new releases this weekend, which explains the $5 million opening to some degree.  But to put it in perspective, the $2,979 per-theater average was lower than Spy Kids 4 and Conan the Barbarian.  The weekend was unkind to new offerings across the board, no matter the size.

Next week brings three new wide releases which, for their sake, will hopefully fare better.  There’s the action flick Colombiana, led by Zoe Saldana; the horror remake Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, starring Katie Holmes and produced by Guillermo del Toro; and the indie comedy Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, and Zooey Deschanel.


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  • Jeff

    I went into Conan the Barbarian with low expectations, came out feeling used. The movie was largely forgettable at every turn. Jason Momoa is fine as Conan, but he deserved a better script.

  • Fowler

    It is unfortunate that 5 Days of War only got a limited release in the U.S. and has already gone straight to DVD here in the UK. It has Renny Harlin directing and a stellar cast – Rupert Friend, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Dean Cain, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Heather Graham, Antje Traue, Rade Serbedzija. It would have been interesting to see how it would have done commercially if released nationwide.

  • Lazerov

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest Conan of all time. Jason Momoa looks more like Tarzan than Conan.


      Good Point..

      But in his defense I thought he played the part well for what was asked of him. This movie had SEASON OF THE WITCH or even IN THE NAME OF THE KING but the production is what set it apart.

      I’m sorry please stop casting Ron Pearlman in these roles. I love him on SOA but he brings a sort of B-movie feel movies he stars in.

      This movie had so much promise but missed the mark.

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  • PatLang

    That was a very nice surprise. I loved the movie and I knew the book was a huge success, but I never expected it to jump up into 1st place in its second weekend. It definately has a very positive message to say and I think that’s nice in a more darker and cynical world that we’re living in today to have a film that speaks about the power of love and equality (similar to, ironically, Planet of the Apes) where the underdogs are fighting to be accepted in the world, don’t get me wrong, they are two very different films, but they both kind of have the same themes and message.

  • The Train!

    was it driven by female audiences looking for something with less testosterone? weak competition?

    (i notice that there are no “summer blockbusters” in the top 10, and i don’t think any more are coming.)

    it just seems odd that the help would move into first place. and the top 10 does look a little scattered.

  • Hiro the Eighth Samurai (and 14th Assassin)

    That’s good for The Help, but just how bad is it that the three more high-profile new movies this weekend came in third through fifth? I know it’s the waning days of summer, but still.

    Also, is there a reason why Fright Night came out now and not in October? Overall, its reviews weren’t too bad.

  • ari

    The Help is the most patronizing and racist movie since Gone with the wind. God knows how this piece of crap have reached the number one at Box Office…

  • Mike

    If The Blindside can get Oscar nominations, then The Help can surely come in #1.

  • Joey

    Somebody please give the great Viola Davis some really great movie to star in!

  • Hrothgar

    The Help wasn’t racist or patronizing. I think that someone has been reading articles without having read the book themselves. I read the book and while it isn’t perfect, there is nothing rascist about it. The white protagonists don’t “save” anyone, the black women help themselves by telling their own stories. I think the fact that the theater was full of black women who liked the movie is telling of whether or not that movie was patronizing.

    And I agree, Viola Davis could carry a movie all by herself, she is quite amazing.