Box Office Report: 'The Help' Beats Four New Films

Dale Robinette/Dreamworks

'Spy Kids: All The Time in the World,' 'Conan the Barbarian,' 'Fright Night,' 'One Day' no match for 'The Help' and 'Rise of the Apes.'

DreamWorks and Participant Media’s The Help continued to overperform in its second weekend, beating a new round of competitors in grossing $20.5 million and coming in No. 1 at the domestic box office.

Distributed by Disney, The Help has racked up $71.3 million in its first 10 days of release. The pic fell less than 22% from its opening weekend, when it came in No. 2. To rise to No. 1 is an unusual feat, and reflects the film's great buzz.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes, from 20th Century Fox, also remained a worthy contender in its third weekend, falling only 41% to an estimated $16.3 million for a domestic cume of $133.8 million and coming in No. 2.

The Help and Rise of the Apes left the weekend’s four new films struggling.

Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, from the Weinstein Co./Dimension, did the best of the bunch, coming in No. 3 and grossing an estimated $12 million. 

"We were within range of our expectations. Yes, it was on the low end, but given the market conditions, we're okay with this number. We're going to be in good shape with this movie, and it will play for the rest of the summer, since there's no other family film coming in," Weinstein president of distribution Erik Lomis said.

Yet the family pic, receiving a B+ CinemaScore, fell notably short of the $33 million earned by the last Spy Kids in its July 2003 debut.

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Nu Image/Millennium’s big-budget Conan the Barbarian, distributed by Lionsgate, and DreamWorks’ Colin Farrell-Anton Yelchin vampire remake Fright Night both fell well short of expectations, grossing $10 million and $8.3 million, respectively, to come in No. 3 and No. 4.

“It was a rough weekend, and disappointing for the new films,” Lionsgate executive vice president of distribution David Spitz said.

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“Historically, August has always been a challenge, but we at Lionsgate have certainly enjoyed plenty of success with titles like The Expendables and The Last Exorcism,” Spitz continued.

Marcus Nispel’s Conan and Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night, both based on 1980s properties, ended up appealing largely to older moviegoers (also, both are rated R).

Of Fright Night’s audience, 60% was over the age of 25; Conan, 67%. The two pics—each receiving a B- CinemaScore--also vied for males. Males made up 76% of Conan’s audience, and 60% of Fright Night’s.

Conan was fully financed by Nu Image/Millennium Films and cost upwards of $70 million to produce. Fright Night cost far less, or just under $30 million, but the pic’s soft performance is still a disappointment for DreamWorks. Disney is distributing Fright Night.

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Conan and Fright Night, along with Spy Kids, were released in 3D, meaning a deluge of 3D titles. Spy Kids cost $27.5 million to produce.

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Focus Features’ romantic One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, grossed $5.1 million to come in on the low end of expectations. Based on the best-selling book by British author David NichollsOne Day had a limited footprint, only playing in 1,721 theaters.

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Focus, which produced the film per its deal with Random House, said it is pleased with the result. One Day opens next week in the U.K., where it should do strong business.

In the U.S., One Day likely struggled to lure moviegoers otherwise intrigued by The Help, with both films based on books and drawing older females. Of those buying tickets for One Day, 72% were females, while 73% were over the age of 25. The film drew a disappointing B- CinemaScore.

While DreamWorks and Disney are perplexed by Fright Night's tepid debut--the film received great reviews and played well in screenings--the two companies are elated over The Help's great start.

"We hoped that The Help would be a breath of fresh air at the end of a busy summer, and that has turned out to be the case," Disney executive vice president of distribution Dave Hollis said.

In other headlines, Sony's The Smurfs placed No. 6 for the weekend domestically, grossing an estimated $8 million for a cume of $117.7 million. Even better, the hit family film crossed the $300 million mark worldwide over the weekend, ending the session with a cume of $329 million, inlcuding an international total of $211.4 million.

Sore spots incuded Fox's Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, which tumbled to No. 15 in its second weekend, declining 69% to $1.8 million for a domestic cume of $10.5 million.

At the specialty box office, documentary Senna made a strong showing as it expanded to 14 theaters in its second weekend, grossing an estimated 169K for a strong per screen average of $12,071 and cume of $280K. Producers Distribution Agency is distributing the pic.

Kevin Smith's Red State made its debut in Los Angeles, grossing $25,800 for a cume of $1 million.

And the Weinstein Co.'s Sarah's Key continued to score strong returns, grossing $783K as it expanded into a total of 201 theaters for a domestic cume of $3.1 million.


Domestic Box Office Top 10 (Aug. 19-21)

1.     The Help (2,690): $20.5 million

2.     Rise of the Planet of the Apes (3,471): $16.3 million

3.     *Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (3,295): $12 million

4.     *Conan the Barbarian (3,015): $10 million

5.     *Fright Night (3,114): $8.3 million

6.     The Smurfs (3,057): $8 million

7.     Final Destination 5 (3,115): $7.7 million

8.     30 Minutes or Less (2,888): $6.3  million

9.     *One Day (1,721): $5.1 million

10. Crazy, Stupid, Love (1,940): $5 million


*New release