Weekend Box Office (August 19 - 21, 2011)
THIS WEEKEND The sleeper hit The Help ruled the North American box office in its second weekend climbing into the number one spot beating out four new releases which all stumbled in their debuts. The book-based drama grossed $20M, according to final studio figures, slipping a mere 23% in its sophomore session setting up what will be a long-lasting run into blockbuster territory. The Disney release averaged a stellar $7,442 from only 2,690 theaters and raised its 12-day cume to a solid $71.3M. Help should have no problem making its way to $130M and could even soar much higher beating out many of this summer's big-budget action offerings. Great reviews and strong word-of-mouth have made it into an event film for adults and appeal has been expanding beyond older females with more demographics discovering the story.
After two weekends on top, Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes dropped down to second place with $16.1M. Off 42%, the sci-fi pic upped its total to $133.6M.
Leading the four-pack of new wide releases was the only kid-friendly one, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, which generated $11.6M from 3,295 theaters for a $3,534 average. Presented in 4D - a 3D film with scratch-n-sniff cards that give off story-related aromas - the PG-rated film played to a family audience but was met with dismal reviews which turned many parents off. Plus the core fan base for the first three films which were released from 2001 to 2003 has grown too old to care anymore so targeting a new generation proved too difficult for the Robert Rodriguez pic.
Another new 3D film not exciting moviegoers was Conan the Barbarian which debuted in fourth with $10M from 3,015 locations for a not-so-muscular $3,324 average. The R-rated remake was the summer's 13th action film and audiences did not feel that the expensive production was worth the money in the late days of summer. 3D screens did account for a good 61% of the gross for the Lionsgate release though.
Sony's The Smurfs grossed $7.8M, down 43%, boosting the hit film's cume to $117.5M.
Another piece of 80s nostalgia followed as the horror remake Fright Night did little to attract fans of scary movies opening to $7.7M. The Disney release invaded an aggressive 3,114 theaters but averaged a weak $2,477 per site. 61% of the gross came from 3D screens which was the one bit of good news. Reviews were mostly favorable, but competition for horror fans came from Final Destination 5 which just bowed last week with its own style of branded 3D chills.
That film followed with an identical gross falling 57% to $7.7M giving Warner Bros. $32.3M in ten days. A $45-50M final seems likely. 30 Minutes or Less dropped by 52% in its second weekend taking in $6.4M. With a ten-day sum of $25.9M, look for a $40M final for Sony.
The fourth and final new wide release of the weekend, the Anne Hathaway drama One Day, failed to make much of a dent with women debuting to only $5.1M. The Focus release averaged a mild $2,952 from 1,721 theaters and faced intense direct competition from The Help which has much more must-see buzz surrounding it. Reviews were very negative too.
Rounding out the top ten was the comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love with $4.8M, off just 32%, for a $64.3M cume.
The top ten films grossed $97.3M which was down 5% from last year when The Expendables remained in the top spot with $17M; and off 9% from 2009 when Inglourious Basterds debuted at number one with $38.1M.
Compared to projections, Spy Kids, Conan the Barbarian, and Fright Night all opened below my respective forecasts of $16M, $15M, and $14M. One Day was on target with my $5M prediction.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Colombiana, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and Our Idiot Brother all open.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||Aug 19 - 21||Aug 12 - 14||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||The Help||$ 20,018,659||$ 26,044,590||-23.1||2,690||2||$ 7,442||$ 71,340,829||Disney|
|2||Rise of the Planet of the Apes||16,119,502||27,832,307||-42.1||3,471||3||4,644||133,583,862||Fox|
|3||Spy Kids: All the Time in the World||11,644,672||3,295||1||3,534||11,644,672||Weinstein Co.|
|4||Conan the Barbarian||10,021,215||3,015||1||3,324||10,021,215||Lionsgate|
|7||Final Destination 5||7,703,466||18,031,396||-57.3||3,155||2||2,442||32,326,686||Warner Bros.|
|8||30 Minutes or Less||6,402,602||13,330,118||-52.0||2,888||2||2,217||25,864,430||Sony|
|10||Crazy, Stupid, Love||4,797,364||7,054,228||-32.0||1,940||4||2,473||64,266,969||Warner Bros.|
|11||Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows Part 2||4,511,411||7,251,414||-37.8||1,738||6||2,596||366,007,900||Warner Bros.|
|12||Cowboys & Aliens||4,215,780||7,811,305||-46.0||2,213||4||1,905||89,498,305||Universal|
|13||Captain America: The First Avenger||4,115,529||7,210,902||-42.9||1,988||5||2,070||164,747,643||Paramount|
|15||Glee Live! 3D||1,804,598||5,961,231||-69.7||1,982||2||910||10,443,883||Fox|
|16||Horrible Bosses||1,279,350||2,438,498||-47.5||755||7||1,695||112,574,996||Warner Bros.|
|17||Sarah's Key||770,049||486,096||58.4||201||5||3,831||3,072,884||Weinstein Co.|
|18||Transformers: Dark of the Moon||606,276||1,384,632||-56.2||484||8||1,253||348,540,006||Paramount|
|19||Midnight in Paris||552,103||703,277||-21.5||258||14||2,140||50,614,946||Sony Classics|
|20||Friends With Benefits||533,670||1,846,455||-71.1||413||5||1,292||54,712,145||Sony|
|Top 5||$ 65,606,425||$ 98,971,492||-33.7|
|Top 20 vs. 2010||118,517,522||122,631,525||-3.4|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: August 22, 2011 at 5:30PM ET
Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 7:40pm ET.