Box Office: The Help Takes No 1 Slot As New Releases Fright Night, Conan & Spy Kids 4 Bomb

A weak bunch of new releases this past weekend has allowed Disney's civil rights comedy-drama to nab the top spot on it's expanding release.

I doubt anyone at Disney's marketing team truly believed that The Help would have crossed the $70 million mark after just 12 days of release but the civil rights era comedy-drama adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name has proved to be one of the summer's surprise hits. It has topped the box office on it's second weekend of release, beating out the much-buzzed and highly expensive horror, action & kids movies it was up against. Timing seems to have been just right on this post-summer blockbuster feat of counter-programming, finding the perfect audience who had dismissed the majority of the loud summer fare and Disney's decision to expand it fully this weekend, whilst a plethora of weak new films were released, has proved to be a canny move. Also benefiting from the extremely quiet weekend was 20th Century Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes that is still bringing in a strong audience thanks to an extraordinary word of mouth for the prequel. Brit helmer Rupert Wyatt seems assured to get the all out apes vs. human war sequel he has hoped for, especially as the low-cost blockbuster (compared to Tim Burton's massively expensive production ten years ago anyways) should beat the last Apes movie when all is said and done. To date, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has taken $256 million worldwide and shows no signs of stopping yet. This week's biggest new release was the completley unnecessary fourth movie in the Spy Kids franchise that has completely bombed this week and surely now the sword must be put to this series as it couldn't even be saved with the advent of the 4D gimmick!! Reviews were fittingly terrible for the release of the boringly titled Spy Kids: All The Time in the World and well if you were wondering where ours was.... ask Dimension Films. We were told point blank that we would not be invited to this screening... always a red alert sign when the studio/distributor have something to hide. Spy Kids 4 took a whopping 75% drop on the 3D gimmick that helped the 2003 movie open to $33 million eight years ago. The $12 million opening weekend is pathetic in all honesty and one does wonder who exactly director Robert Rodriguez was targetting with the release? It couldn't have been the young teenagers who paid their money in 2003 as they had surely moved on to stuff like Apes and Fright Night by now... so who? Have youngsters really been watching the Spy Kids movies over the past 8 years and were anticipating another roll of the dice? And Robert Rodriguez wonders why he is still struggling to obtain financing for the Sin City sequel... I had worried about Nu Image's Z-movie (come on, it looked straight to video) re-imagnining of the Conan franchise ever since that first trailer was out and I am not at all surprised to see it's $10 million opening weekend (remember with inflated 3D ticket prices) and a lot of heads are going to roll over that project which shockingly cost $100 million to make. This was probably the worst case scenario opening for Conan and one that kills the franchise that was previously almost three decades dormant since the Arnie days of the 80's. Former Baywatch actor and model Jason Momoa will need to luck for work elsewhere as this won't be the long cash cow he probably was expecting. Tragically, after a month on release The Smurfs has shot past the $300 million worldwide domestic mark and is close to $120 million domestically. Sad times. Opening in 7th place, the remake of the cult favourite Fright Night lived up to the little known niche fan-base of it's original. Less than $8 million opening is what you get when you attempt to remake something that wasn't all that popular over twenty five years ago (note: the same thing will happen with The Monster Squad if you try it) and hopefully Hollywood's obsession with trying to give horror movies a late summer opening, instead of the Halloween/October scheduling they should have got, will be coming to an end. What probably won't be effected by Hollywood's attempts to capitalise the Twilight-vamp fad and we imagine Johnny Depp's attempts to grow fangs next year with Dark Shadows will do a lot better than Colin Farrell's - whose star power must be questioned as the film died on his shoulders. Total Recall, beware. Elsewhere, Final Destination 5 and 30 Minutes or Less dropped over half of their openings last weekend in 7th and 8th place respectively and the jury is still going to be out on the Anne Hathaway/Jim Sturgess romance movie One Day that had a relatively quiet opening in 9th place with just over $5 million, but it will expand to over 2,000 theatres over the coming weeks. Check back in the coming weeks to see if it can attract a growing audience like The Help and whether word of mouth keeps the film strong. 1 2 The Help BV $20,479,000 -21.4% 2,690 +156 $7,613 $71,801,000 $25 2 2 1 Rise of the Planet of the Apes Fox $16,300,000 -41.4% 3,471 -220 $4,696 $133,764,000 $93 3 3 N Spy Kids: All the Time in the World W/Dim. $12,020,000 - 3,295 - $3,648 $12,020,000 $27 1 4 N Conan the Barbarian (2011) LGF $10,000,000 - 3,015 - $3,317 $10,000,000 $90 1 5 4 The Smurfs Sony $8,000,000 -41.7% 3,057 -370 $2,617 $117,745,000 $110 4 6 N Fright Night (2011) BV $7,900,000 - 3,114 - $2,537 $8,300,000 $30 1 7 3 Final Destination 5 WB (NL) $7,705,000 -57.3% 3,155 - $2,442 $32,328,000 $40 2 8 5 30 Minutes or Less Sony $6,300,000 -52.7% 2,888 - $2,181 $25,762,000 $28 2 9 N One Day Focus $5,128,000 - 1,719 - $2,983 $5,128,000 $15 1 10 9 Crazy, Stupid, Love. WB $4,950,000 -29.8% 1,940 -695 $2,552 $64,420,000 $50 4 11 7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 WB $4,405,000 -39.3% 1,738 -676 $2,535 $365,901,000 - 6 12 6 Cowboys & Aliens Uni. $4,194,000 -46.3% 2,213 -1,097 $1,895 $89,476,000 $163 4
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.