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‘The Help’ On Top a Second Week

It was the second slowest weekend of 2011 thanks to tepid releases and a storm wreaking havoc across the East Coast. The Help managed to stay on top staving off an anticipated horror movie, a traditional comedy, and a brainless action flick.

The Help earned an addition $14.3 million Friday through Sunday leaving it only $4 million shy of the $100 million milestone. It has become the chick movie of the past few years, surpassing the domestic grosses of Julia & Julia and Eat Pray Love. Meanwhile Colombiana managed a meager second place with $10.3 million. The action movie failed to wow critics or fans. Luckily for lead actress Saldana, she has a bright future in the Avatar franchise.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark went into the weekend as the strongest contender. It had quite a bit of buzz but the mass of critics ultimately ditched it as cheesy and none too scary. Even with Guillermo Del Toro behind the project, it pulled in at third place with $8.6 million, nearly tying Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Our Idiot Brother did the least business, however. With $6.5 million in the bag, this movie makes comedies look bad for business.

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The Top Ten

1. The Help – $14.3M (weekend)…$96.6M (gross)
2. Colombiana – $10.3M…$10.3M
3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – $8.6M…$8.6M
4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $8.6M…$148.4M
5. Our Idiot Brother – $6.5M…$6.5M
6. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World – $5.7M…$21.7M
7. The Smurfs – $4.8M …$125.9M
8. Conan the Barbarian – $3.1M…$16.5M
9. Fright Night (2011) – $3.0M…$14.2M
10. Crazy, Stupid, Love – $2.9M …$69.5M 

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Three more movies debut this last weekend of the blockbuster season; none of these offerings is a guaranteed frontrunner. On Wednesday, the long-awaited festival winner The Debt starring Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren will be released. The movie has already debuted in foreign markets and elicited positive early reviews. Yet it will only be distributed on 1,700 screens, which is a small screen count for a movie of that caliber. On another note, The Debt officially opens prestige movie season. Though September through December is characterized by horror movies, second-rate action, and big holiday tentpoles, it is ultimately remembered for the pretentious independent pictures later lauded at the awards shows.

One movie that will not be getting an award is Shark Night 3D, a blending of Jaws, Piranha 3D, and Deliverance. This silly teenage horror movie is aiming at fun PG-13 scares and giggles. Unfortunately, the 3-D craze died a sudden death in recent weeks. Without the failsafe of the gimmick, Shark Night may fall victim to Apollo 18. Found footage was a quick trend that picked up for a few films and fluttered away. With Paranormal Activity 3 on the horizon, this trend may attempt a comeback; that is if Apollo 18 is any good. It opens at 2,750 theaters to the Shark’s 2,400 cinemas.  

None should blow out of the box office, but next week’s chart is anyone’s guess. Make your prediction in the comment section of the Box Office Wizard article this Friday right here on Player Affinity. Your Player Affinity hosts of The Plot Hole movie podcast discuss their opinions of new releases every Tuesday night. Listen to Episode 20 to hear the latest reviews (see www.playeraffinity.com/podcast this Tuesday night).

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