Box Office Prognosis: The Help Fights A Hurricane, Comes Out Virtually Unscathed

The box office has been slowly calming down since Harry Potter broke records all over the world last July.  Since then, returns have been getting steadily lower.  Last week, The Help won the box office again with a relatively low 20 million take.  But oh, how low it could go.  Facing relatively little competition from Colombiana and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, The Help bagged another $14.5 million for the weekend.  Last weekend, that box office return would have garnered it third place.  This week, it was enough to bring it to first.

Now how the hell does that happen?  Most people are blaming Hurricane Irene, but that’s just a scapegoat for studio execs to explain the low grosses. Well tons of theaters were closed all over the East Coast, I doubt returns would have been much better even if they WERE open.  There’s just nothing out there, plain and simple.  And the stuff that is out there?  Well, pretty mediocre.


Speaking of mediocre, let’s talk about Colombiana!  The Zoe Saldana headed action flick raked in $10.4 million for the weekend, enough to garner it second place. Yup, SECOND PLACE.  Like I said, this weekend was pretty damn weak.  Heck, it’s the second weakest weekend of the year so far (behind Super Bowl weekend of course)!  And even with a second place opening, it will be an uphill battle for Colombiana to make its budget of $40 million dollars back.  But who knows; Besson has some pull overseas, so it may turn out a profit for Sony in the end.

You know what is definitely making a profit?  Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Despite dropping 45%, the sci-fi flick is still doing gangbusters for Fox.  Grossing another $8.8 million this weekend, the film’s total has risen to a pretty great $148 million dollar profit on a $90 million budget.  The film will probably close out in the $180-$200 million dollar range, more than doubling its budget.  A sequel is almost assured at this point.

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The other new release this week, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, isn’t as lucky.  Grossing a mere $8.5 million and ranking fourth place for the weekend, DBAOTD was easily the biggest disappointment of the weekend.  FilmDistrict’s other horror flick this year, Insidious, grossed $13.3 million in comparison.  Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has 25x the budget.  It will be a miracle if it makes that budget back.

Closing out the top five was Our Idiot Brother, grossing only $7 million for the weekend  At first glance, this might seem like a disappointment for the Paul Rudd starring comedy but, considering it’s low $5 million budget, its actually off to a pretty good start.


But the biggest disasters of the week are STILL last week’s new releases.  Conan the Barbarian toppled 68% to eighth place, grossing a pathetic $3.1 million.  Fright Night was even worse, barely cracking the top ten with $3 million in sales.  With budgets of $90 million and $30 million respectively, these two are
bonified box office bombs.  They die so young…

The full list:

1. The Help–$14.5 million
2. Colombiana–$10.4 million
3.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes–$8.8 million
4.  Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark–$8.5 million
5. Our Idiot Brother–$7 million
6.  Spy Kids: All the Time In the World–$6 million
7.  The Smurfs–$4.7 million
8.  Conan the Barbarian–$3.1 million
9.  Crazy, Stupid, Love–$3.1 million
10.  Fright Night–$3.1 million

Well that does it for this week.  Until then, have fun at the box office!

[All numbers come courtesy of Box Office Mojo]