The Help was off to a strong start and picked up an estimated $25.5 million this week-end on 3,100 screens at 2,534 locations, exceeding the debuts of similar female-driven book adaptations 2009’s Julie & Julia ($20 million) and 2010’s Eat Pray Love ($23.1 million). Distributor Walt Disney Pictures' exit polling indicated that 74 percent of The Help's audience was female and 60 percent aged 35 years and older. An impressive 93% approval rating on Flixster also bodes well for the film’s propensity to stay in the top five for the coming weeks.
In third place, the fifth installment of the Final Destination franchise opened lower than its predecessors for the first time. Final Destination 5 grossed $18.4 million on 4,600 screens at 3,155 locations, failing to match up 2009’s The Final Destination $27.4 million opening in August 2009. This would seem to indicate a serious case of franchise fatigue, despite the twisted gory thrills promised in the trailer: Lasik eye surgery gone wrong and death by acupuncture needles, anyone? Distributor Warner Bros. reported that the movie audience was 54% male and 50% under 25 years old.
Despite being ridiculed by critics, The Smurfs are having the last laugh and ranked fourth with a $13.5 million gross and boasted the smallest percentage drop (34.8%) amongst nationwide holdovers. The live-action/animation hybrid’s popularity could easily be explained by the lack of competition from children’s movies this summer. Rounding out the Top Five, 30 Minutes or Less opened slowly with $13 million on 3,100 screens at 2,888 locations, which paled in comparison to director Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 offering Zombieland which garnered $24.7 million on its opening weekend. Distributor Sony Pictures reported that the action comedy’s audience was 58 % male with 69% under 25 years old.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie flopped and ranked 11th with an estimated $5.7 million at 2,040 3D locations. This poor result is explained by a poor marketing campaign strictly aimed at hardcore "Gleeks" and the fact that casual watchers can see the television series for free. According to 20th Century Fox, 79% of the movie’s audience was female with 66 % under 25 years old.
Next week end sees four major new releases including fantasy epic Conan the Barbarian, 1980’s vampire cult movie remake Fright Night, romantic drama One Day, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World 4D (in Odorama!), and a handful of limited releases including heist-comedy Flypaper and Griff the Invisible starring True Blood Ryan Kwanten’s as an office worker by day, superhero by night.
Box Office Top Ten (August 12 - August 14):
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (MRQE Metric: 73) -- $27.8 million
- The Help (MRQE Metric: 72) -- $26 million
- Final Destination 5 (MRQE Metric: 57) -- $18 million
- The Smurfs (MRQE Metric: 49) -- $13.7 million
- 30 Minutes or Less (MRQE Metric: 52) -- $13.3 million
- Cowboys & Aliens (MRQE Metric: 56) -- $7.8 million
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (MRQE Metric: 84) -- $7.25 million
- Captain America: The First Avenger (MRQE Metric: 67) --$7.21 million
- Crazy, Stupid, Love. (MRQE Metric: 68) --$7 million
- The Change-Up (MRQE Metric: 49) -- $6.3 million