Box Office Report: 'The Help' Needs No Help Against Its Competition

"The Help"

The Friday box office turns into a mash-up as four films, including "Conan the Barbarian," Colin Farrell's "Fright Night" and "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D," enter the fray.

DreamWorks and Participant Media holdover The Help is on course to win the weekend box office race and beat out a crowded pack of new films, including Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night.

Early estimates suggest The Help will earn $18 to $19 million for the weekend and place No. 1 in its second outing. It's rare for a film to open at No. 2 and then claim first position the next weekend (The Blind Side is a recent example).

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Friday’s race itself was looking like a mash-up between five films:

The Help, 20th Century Fox’s holdover Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Lionsgate’s Conan the Barbarian, Dimension Films’ Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D and DreamWorks’ vampire pic Fright Night, which all looked to gross in the $4 million to $5.5 million range.

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But Help and Apes are expected to pull ahead on Saturday and Sunday, and finish the weekend at No. 1 and No. 2.

Conan the Barbarian and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World are looking to be in a close race for the weekend with a projected gross of $12 million to $13 million each, while Spy Kids is now projected to gross $12 million to $13 million for the weekend.

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Fright Night, starring Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin, appears to be trailing Spy Kids and Conan, but box office observers caution that the lineup could easily change if one of the films gains traction based on good word of mouth.

Focus Features’ Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess romantic drama One Day is starting off slow, but is still expected to hit its target goal of $6 million for the weekend.