Fox sure wasn’t kidding around with their “Apes Will Rise” tagline. Despite four new releases entering the box office fray, none were able to take down “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” from the top spot this weekend as the Simian pic retained its title as the number one choice of moviegoers in North America. Among the newcomers, it was the inspirational drama “The Help” that surprised all with a sensational debut while “Final Destination 5” and “30 Minutes Or Less” both opened up to par with most expectations. Unfortunately, the weekend’s fourth release – the TV adaptation “Glee 3D” bombed, opening outside the top 10.
BOX OFFICE WINNERS: With a terrific opening weekend haul, sensational reviews, an amazing “A+” grade from Cinemascore and Oscar Buzz, “The Help” is by far the big winner of the weekend. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” also takes a big chunk from the winner’s pot as it builds its reputation as one of the summer’s breakout hits.
BOX OFFICE LOSERS: Even though it’s based on a very popular television show with a rabid fanbase, “Glee 3D” wasn’t able to even crack the top 10. Both “Final Destination 5” and “30 Minutes or Less” also failed to convert their cool marketing campaigns into big dollars at the box office.
BOX OFFICE ANALYSIS:
Dropping a healthy 50% from its terrific opening weekend last week, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” (My Review) Ruper Wyatt’s successful reboot of the 40-year-old franchise, picked up $27 million this weekend to take its total up to a very good $104 million. With positive word-of-mouth and reviews paving the way, the seventh film in the “Planet of the Apes” series is on course to become the highest grossing installment in the 40-year-old franchise and should end its run with a final gross within the $170-180 million range. If that happens, it would become the biggest non-sequel, non-superhero movie of the summer.
Debuting in second place and almost topping “Apes” for the top spot was the critically acclaimed drama “The Help” which attracted an amazing $25.5 million and $35.4 million over the five day period. The 1960s-set drama, which tells the story of a group of wealthy Mississippi women and their maids, was based on an incredibly popular best-selling novel and has been receiving extraordinary Oscar buzz for its performances – especially Viola Davis. With a sensational “A+” grade from Cinemascore, you can bet on “The Help” steamrolling ahead to the $100 million mark. Plus with next week’s crop of movies looking like a collection of trash, I’m expecting the drama to capitalize on its buzz and even top the box office.
“Final Destination 5” took home the bronze medal for the weekend, scaring up an estimated $18.4 million which was much less than the opening numbers of the last two films in the franchise. This was a bit surprising considering the last film in the series was the franchise’s top grossing installment by a wide margin. I expected the film to open much heavier than it did since it was only the second horror movie of the summer; the last one being the dreadful “Priest” which opened back in May. Could it be that audiences are finally getting tired of the series? Or maybe they didn’t want to spend more money on another 3-D film?
Dropping two spots to fourth place were “The Smurfs” – a putrid film that for some odd reason enjoyed the best holdover (34.8%) in the top 10 for a second week in a row. Don’t bet on it scoring a hat-trick as “The Help” is being groomed to become a late summer box office sensation. With $13.4 million being added to its blue booty, “The Smurfs” has now robbed audiences off $101 million, making it the 20th film of 2011 to cross that mark, and is expected to steal at least $30 million more before it closes shop.
Action comedy “30 Minutes Or Less” (My Review) wrapped up the top five with a less than stellar $13 million weekend debut. Though the trailers were funny, it seems like the lack of star-power and a must-see factor derailed this one from joining the list of this summer’s successful R-rated comedies. Instead it opened with a number similar to last weekend’s “The Change-Up,” another R-rated comedy that disappointed.
The bottom half of the top 10 were filled out by aging blockbusters. “Cowboys & Aliens” (My Review) continued its swift plummet, taking its total to $81.4 million. “Captain America” (My Review) took its total up to $156.8. It now trails “Thor” (My Review) by $4 million. “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (My Review) continued its healthy run, upping its total to $55 million while the year’s biggest movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” (My Review) bumped its total to $356 million putting it within an inch’s reach of “Jurassic Park” on the all-time blockbuster list.
NEXT WEEK: Once again, four new releases hit theaters. Leading the way are two 3-D remakes. First up is the gory redo of “Conan the Barbarian” which should pick up around $18 million from action fans. Following close behind will be remake of “Fright Night” which should score something in the mid-teens. Robert Rodriguez tarnishes his legacy once again with the fourth “Spy Kids” film which is being screened in glorious 4-D (yes, with Smell-O-Rama) so I think that one should be the best-in-show among the newcomers with $21 million or so. Finally, the romantic drama “One Day” opens shop in a barely wide release format.
Here’s the full box office top ten for the weekend (total domestic gross in parentheses):
- RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – $27.5 Million ($104.8 Million) (My Review)
- THE HELP – $25.5 Million ($35.3 Million)
- FINAL DESTINATION 5 – $18.4 Million
- THE SMURFS – $13.5 Million ($101.5 Million)
- 30 MINUTES OR LESS – $13 Million (My Review)
- COWBOYS & ALIENS – $7.6 Million ($81.4 Million) (My Review)
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER – $7.1 Million ($156.8 Million) (My Review)
- CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE – $6.9 Million ($55.4 Million) (My Review)
- HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 – $6.8 Million ($356.9 Million) (My Review)
- THE CHANGE-UP – $6.2 Million ($25.7 Million)