Box office report: 'The Help' cleans up with $20.5 million; Audiences reject new 3-D releases


Image Credit: Dale Robinette

Despite the release of four new pictures, this weekend’s top two movies at the box office are the same as last frame’s, although they have switched places. The Help climbed past Rise of the Planet of the Apes and into first place, with an estimated gross of $20.5 million. That result marks a fabulous drop of just 21 percent, which indicates that good word-of-mouth about The Help, which earned a rare “A+” CinemaScore grade from audiences, is spreading quickly. Disney’s Kathryn Stockett adaptation has already amassed $71.8 million total, and as it continues to become an event film of sorts, it should fly past the $100 million mark in the next two weeks.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes came in second place in its third weekend, easing 41 percent to $16.3 million. The effects-driven hit has now grossed $133.8 million in 17 days, and it’s running well ahead of Fox’s other summer tentpole, X-Men: First Class, which had earned $120.4 million at the same point in its release. Rise, which cost $90 million to produce, has a lot of life left in it too. With a few more weekends of small declines, the late-summer surprise could finish with about $170 million.

After those two holdovers, the rest of the box office looks pretty grim, as all four new releases debuted to awful numbers. Notably, three of these new releases — Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, Conan the Barbarian, and Fright Night — were released in 3-D. In fact, every movie from third to seventh place at the box office is a 3-D release, and of those five films, only The Smurfs is really doing well.

In third place, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D did the best of all the under-performers with $12 million. The studio claims the number is “respectable” and within expectations, though it pales in comparison to the opening of Spy Kids 3D, which debuted to $33.5 million in 2003. Despite its “4D” Aromoascope gimmick, the latest Spy Kids installment couldn’t come close to that number, and it achieved a tepid $3,648 venue average. The silver lining for Weinstein/Dimension is that the film, which earned a “B+” CinemaScore grade, cost a relatively small $27 million to make.


Image Credit: Guy Roland

Conan the Barbarian, which many considered to be The Help‘s main competition this weekend, got clubbed all the way into fourth place by the maids. The poorly reviewed remake earned $10 million, barely beating the $9.6 million (unadjusted for inflation) debut of the original Conan the Barbarian in 1982. Audiences, which were 76 percent male, gave the action film an unenthusiastic “B-” grade according to CinemaScore polling. Although distributor Lionsgate didn’t provide EW with a budget, it has been reported in the $70-80 million range. Jason Momoa, it might be time to stop writing that sequel now!

Fright Night scared up only $8.3 million this weekend ($400,000 of which came from Thursday 9 p.m. screenings), enough for fifth place. The Colin Farrell vampire remake, produced by Dreamworks for less than $20 million, earned a weak per theater average of $2,665, which suggests that it won’t stick around in theaters for long. Fans of the original Fright Night (1985) seem to have made up most of the audience, as 75 percent of viewers were 25 years old or older. Unfortunately, those people didn’t seem to like what they saw as much as critics did, for audiences issued the film a discouraging “B-” CinemaScore grade.

These three box office disappointments beg the question: Did the fact that they were released in 3-D actually cause them to do worse business? We’ll never be able to know for sure, but it’s clear that 3-D is not currently thriving like it used to.

The 3-D format proved exciting and fresh to audiences when it first resurged in 2008 and 2009, helping movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Monsters Vs. Aliens, and Avatar find success, but audiences have recently exhibited a preference against the technology, which jacks up ticket prices (and, according to many, worsens the moviegoing experience) substantially. Despite a higher availability of 3-D venues versus two years, grosses from 3-D theaters have been down this summer, and I have to wonder whether movies like Conan, Spy Kids, and Fright Night would actually have earned more if they hadn’t been associated with 3-D at all. Thoughts? Either way, between the weak 3-D performances this weekend and the underwhelming opening of Glee: The 3D Concert Movie last weekend, I wonder whether Hollywood will take a good, long look at whether they really want to commit more dollars to a technology that seems increasingly unpopular.

The weekend’s other new release, Focus Features’ One Day, a romantic drama starring Anne Hathaway based upon the popular book of the same name, floundered in ninth place with $5.2 million. The film also earned a “B-” from audiences, which were 72 percent female.

In milestone news, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris has now surpassed $50 million. The lighthearted Owen Wilson dramedy has earned $50.7 million. Meanwhile, Pixar’s Cars 2, which has earned $186.9 million domestically, has now passed the $500 million mark worldwide with $501.3 million total, surpassing the original Cars‘ $462 million global cume. Check out the full Top 10 below:

1. The Help – $20.5 mil
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $16.3 mil
3. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D – $12 mil
4. Conan the Barbarian – $10 mil
5. Fright Night – $8.3 mil
6. The Smurfs – $8 mil
7. Final Destination 5 – $7.7 mil
8. 30 Minutes or Less – $6.3 mil
9. One Day – $5.2 mil
10. Crazy, Stupid, Love. – $5.0 mil

Follow Grady on Twitter: @BoxOfficeJunkie

Read more:
Box office update: ‘The Help’ and ‘Apes’ stay on top as four newcomers badly stumble on Friday

Comments (242 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    America stops wallowing in crap. Good job, America.

    • Huck Follwood

      1. The Help – White people “feel-good” movie
      2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – apes = metaphor for black people
      3. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D – CGI crapfest.
      4. Conan the Barbarian – Momoa is a decent actor but he forgot to train his legs while bulking up for the movie. Ooops!
      5. Fright Night – Vampires can go to hell, f**king bunch of melodramatic bullsh!t.
      6. The Smurfs – $8 mil or not to be watched by anyone over the age of 8.
      7. Final Destination 5 – a.k.a. Plot Recycling works,
      8. 30 Minutes or Less – has less than 30 seconds of comedy
      9. One Day – Soaporama
      10. Crazy, Stupid, Love. – Soaporama 2, with a few laughs.

      • LOL

        Did you like “Precious?”

      • Jason

        Wow. Painfully unfunny post there, Huck.

      • Jose

        Melodramatic? Did you not read any of the stuff associated with Fright Night? Farrel in the movie is vicious, not melodramatic.
        Go huck yourself.

      • gaga

        Collins is almost 40 and forever in the business ..he knows by now how to look sexy..but thats it…no challenge for him..he has no drawing power ..the Movie sucked so bad

      • Mike

        Im really impressed with how many movies you are able to watch. Do us all a favor, if you haven’t watched all of these movies stop writing crap like this. If you have watched all these movies, get off your butt and do something with your life.

      • Liz Lemon

        F**k you, B*TCH!!

      • Huck Follwood

        F*ck you right back Lemon, you stupid skank.

        Mike, do us a favor and gouge your eyes out.

        Jose, here’s 20 bucks, go mow the lawn. Oh and f*ck you.

      • henry dicarlo

        You’re coming off “virgin” there, Huck.

      • ROGER THAT

        WOW Someone’s a lil RACIALLY challenged

      • The Actual Truth

        Is that $20.5M in dollars or food stamps?

      • Marven Gardens

        Huck hates Hollywood. Huck spent $100 at the movies in the past 40 days. Huck is a the king of bs.

      • Philbert Wonka

        That’s funny – before I added a comment I was told to keep it clean, appropriate and on topic. And then I stumbled into the least appropriate comment section on the web. America not only loves crap; it spews it forth from web comment sections.

      • lol2

        i agree with you huck. especially about the help

      • Amy

        I can pretty much tell that you haven’t seen any of these movies.

      • nick

        What inventive responses, Huck. You’re a hack even in the Comments section.

    • LOL

      America loves crap.

      • Manny

        EW readers tired of LOL. Give it a rest, buddy. Go watch Fast 5 and pleasure yourself.

      • Cameron J

        You know, if we’re all really tired of him, we’ll shut up replying to his posts. …starting now.

      • LOL

        You can’t ignore me because you know I’m right. Even if you don’t respond, which I don’t care about, you still know that I speak the truth. As EW’s own critic said, Fast Five is a pitch perfect film, it was brilliant, poetry in motion. America needs to consistantly embrace entertaining and thought provoking films like this, or we will get nothing but a steady diet of crap, like the movies on this list.

      • America

        Yes, LOL, we do love crap.

      • LOL

        Its ok because I love crap. Keep making good movies America!

      • Jeff M.

        I love crap yum yum give me some! LOL sucks and needs this to be a part of his CRAPPY LIFE, so be it LOSER!

    • Tom

      Boy, planet of the crap must have really been a stinker to have been beaten by this terrible flick

      • HELEN

        I agree with you Lily. Wonderfull movie

    • Lily

      “The Help” is a fantastic movie with amazing acting, telling an important story. Agree LOL, good job America!

      • fnord


      • tomm

        So you buy the extreme leftist knew jerk reactions from those who never seen it? Remember, slavery was ended by white people’s help. If you hate, then go to Africa.

      • tee

        Good job Tom, you, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck remind us every day of how lucky we are to be here. Read up on reconstruction, after the civil war. And yes, the help is offensive, but almost every movie is these days. We’re used to it.

      • Cara

        So if you read a biography of Abraham Lincoln, would you say…”Well, there’s just another bunch of crap about a white man saving black people.”
        Have you read or seen The Help? Because it is a lot more complex than what you have just boiled it down to. In fact, I would say the whites in the movie are mostly hateful stereotypes, and the black women are all practically saints. Not that that is a bad thing. I loved it!

      • SJ

        I think a lot of the racial criticism of The Help is coming from people who haven’t read the book or watched the movie, but are regurgitating chatter heard on the internet. The book addresses the whole angle of a white woman “saving” black people. It’s addressed frequently. Sure, there are issues with glorifying the role of black women as caretakers and white well-to-doers as saviours, but it’s not like the issue isn’t scrutinized in the novel.

        So tired of lame internet comments by people who don’t have an informed opinion!

      • Alyssa

        @ Tom Yeah…isnt it funny how many things we start and stop? For instance you on the right want to take back the disaster you started. Deja vu all over.

        We may have HELPED save the slaves and enforce civil rights. But I give credit to Martin Luther King, and Abe Lincoln Both Republicans sticking up for African American rights. I think they would be ashamed of you guys today, yet proud at how far we have come- like him or not. President Obama is a historical mark in history as well. I am white by the way-which shouldnt matter. And that is the underlying meaning of this book and movie. So STFU.

      • The Actual Truth

        What’s new here? White people always save black people. Black people never save white people or themselves. You can’t change history no matter how hard you try. Just accept it and get over it. White people are better than black people. Period.

  • Fowler

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest Conan of all time. Jason Momoa looks more like Tarzan than Conan.

    • Nathan

      and he’s had so much competition too, one other guy.

      • Fred

        Ralf Muller played Conan as well in the TV series.

    • Brom

      Arnold Schwarzenegger was not the perfect Conan. Go read the stories. Jason Momoa looks more like the way Conan is described in the stories. And he did a great job with the role, just as he did with Khal Drogo in “Game of Thrones.”

      • Mmmmmomoa

        Jason is a thousand times sexier than Arnold, and a much better actor.

    • Jeff M.

      I like them both so I guess I really have nothing to say but good job by Jason it was a good movie!

  • Rebecca Honey

    It is unfortunate that 5 Days of War only got a limited release in the U.S. and has already gone straight to DVD here in the UK. It has Renny Harlin directing and a stellar cast – Rupert Friend, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Dean Cain, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Heather Graham, Antje Traue, Rade Serbedzija. It would have been interesting to see how it would have done commercially if released nationwide.

    • LOL

      No one knows what you’re talking about.

      • LOL

        Never mind I am an idiot.

    • erin

      Give it a rest.

    • TT

      The words “Dean Cain” and “stellar cast” do not belong together.

      • Cat

        Ain’t that the truth?!

      • Mikey

        You call that a stellar cast????

      • erin

        This person posts this same thing everywhere. They’re fast becoming more annoying than LOL.

      • Ghost of Pia

        Do you morons realize how many different people post under “LOL?”

    • Tom

      Planet of the Waste of Money

      • Regina George

        The rest of America doesn’t think so.

      • Tom

        I’m sure it’s the same percentage of people that ate rocks for fun when they were children.

    • Jeff M.

      Well most of the USA doesnt likeRenny Harlin films. I on the other hand love most of them…Die Hard2, Ford Fairlane,Deep Blue Sea,Cutthoat Island. The Long Kiss Goodnight. All Great Movies!!!

  • Book-Brain

    Yay for APES! Bring on the sequel(s).

    • Kim from Texas

      I agree! This was my favorite movie of the summer. It was much better than Harry Potter and Cowboys & Aliens.

      • Nancy

        Everything is better than cowboys and aliens. You couldn’t pay people to watch it.

      • Regina George

        Everything is better than singing teenagers. Nothing is better than maids from the 1960’s. Some things are better than underage secret agents. Lots of things are better than barbarians. And most things are better than small blue people with no shirts.

  • Bobby

    I’ve been saying it for quite a while now…..3D can go away any time.The fad has passed.

    • stickittotheman

      3D helped films like Avatar find success? Okay, that is hyperbole if I ever heard it. Avatar helped 3D find success, doofus!

      • Tom

        They will make fun of the people that own 3D plasma screens in 10 years , just like they do the people who bought 8-track players in the seventies.

      • Bobby

        You’re right,3D is the only reason that Avatar was as successful as it was,but my whole point was that the whole “I gotta see it in 3D” phase is going away.People are suckers for the latest fads,and thankfully,this one will soon be gone,doofus!

      • Steve

        @Bobby, you are right I was more selective and opt to see movies in 2D. 3D did not add to my movie experience with alot of movies. Avatar was cool in 3D.

      • SJ

        3d and Avatar worked because it was a film that fit well with the concept. Spy Kids… I have no idea why that would need 3D. I purposely don’t see movies in 3d after the disappointing Alice in Wonderland; I found it distracting, would have liked the movie better without 3d.

    • Jay

      Hey Hollywood, and while you’re at it, stop the remakes and the sequels and come up with something original OK?

      • Joo

        They do every week, you just don’t watch them because they don’t have enough ‘splosions for you.

      • @Jay

        There are tons of original movies (non-adaptations, sequels, remakes, reboots, etc.), from Super 8 and Crazy, Stupid, Love to past hits like Avatar and Inception to all the indies and smaller films that many people overlook just because they don’t have gigantic, in-your-face marketing campaigns.

  • Jasmine

    I try to avoid 3D showings unless the 3D experience is the whole point of the film, like with Avatar. Otherwise I find it really distracting.

    • Nick

      I agree. The only films that I appreciated in 3D were Avatar and Tron: Legacy. Aside from those, I’ve seen two other films in 3D and I was extremely annoyed with it.

    • jrose

      I agree. If the movie was scripted and made to effectively utilize 3D – and if the reviews indicate that the 3D is used effectively – I’ll pay the extra money. Otherwise – I hate wearing the glasses – and am perfectly content with good script, direction, acting, camera, editing and efx on the regular flat screen.

    • Kevin7

      Exactly. When you don’t use it correctly 3D ruins a film. The only 3D film left on my radar is The Hobbit. Other than that it’s standard viewing for everything.

    • m1

      I thought Cars 2 looked pretty good in 3D.

    • Tom

      Cars 2 beat all the comicbook movies this year so far in boxoffice sales. Those numbers don’t lie. People are sick of the cardboard cutout movies they have been making for years now.

  • DRG

    Conan flops. America rejects fanboy crap!

    • Cat

      Why couldn’t they have done that with Transformers?

      • DRG

        Cat — I don’t know, but the world would be a better place if they had.

      • Ian Webster

        Because Transformers has a much wider audience than just “fanboys”. Think of people, who are now grown adults, that used to watch the cartoon as children.

      • Tom

        Transformers was a huge let down. Over hyped, and not worth the money to see in the theater. Maybe if you have some really braindamaged kids you need to keep occupied with a rental, then ok.

      • @DRG

        Agreed so much. There were actually some decent, or even good/great franchise movies this year, so why do people insist on making the Transformers movies successes? Fortunately, we also had the last Harry Potter movie, so Transformers 3 won’t be the highest grossing movie this year.

  • Mollie Drake

    I hope they include the following characters in future Conan sequels:
    Akiro, Bêlit, Fafnir, Red Sonja, Subotai, Valeria, Zenobia
    I look forward to seeing the following villains in future Conan sequels:
    Jenna, Kulan Gath, Mikhal “the Vulture” Oglu, Rexor, Serpent Men, Thorgrim, Thoth-Amon, Thulsa Doom, Vammatar, Xaltotun, Yezdigerd, Zukala

    • mollie’s turd


    • Buddymoore

      Wow, how many sequels are you planning on there being because I’m banking on none.

    • L

      Yeah, 4th place does not a sequel make.

      • Tom

        In most races there is no 4th place. It’s just called – last.

    • arivalscientist

      Red Sonja was put in Conan’s time by Marvel Comics. Robert E. Howard wrote Red Sonya as a swashbuckilng two gun shooting lass.

  • E-Hustle

    Congrats to The Help. I saw it last night and if this movies doesn’t get any Oscars next year it will be a damn shame. All the acting performances were very strong. Heading to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes this evening.
    Great to see all theses inflated priced 3D gimmick movies flopping hard! Thank God Dark Knight Rises is not in 3D, but will still IMAX. Which makes me wonder,.. were they able to pull of ROTDK w/all IMAX cameras like Nolan originally intended?

    • Draco

      You must be a suburban white woman.

      • gaga

        you are some dumb boy

      • Nancy

        you were probably conceived in a suburban by someone who was a fan of Limp Bizkit

    • Jose

      Don’t know if the entire movie is is filmed with IMAX cameras, but I know that several scenes are filmed with that, did you read that news story about Anne Hathaway’s stunt double destroying one of those during a chase scene?

      • Scott

        I didn’t realize horsefaced, charmless Ms. Hathaway used a stunt double. What this overhyped medusa drastically needs is an acting double.

      • PennyBeGood

        The destroyed an IMAX camera during the filming of “The Dark Knight.” Just makes me love both movies that much more.

  • pickles

    I wold have seen Conan is Jason wasn’t hooked up with sleazeLisa Bonet

    • Fatima

      That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

      • Tom

        Nerds get jealious like that.

  • Andy

    While I think that people have a hard time seeing the value of 3D for certain films, its also can’t be denied that the other new release this week, One Day, was not 3D and it debuted to a god awful number. Audiences will see the right 3D movies, which is why I believe Spy Kids was number 3 because it seems like it would be interesting to watch in that format. Conan and Fright Night appeal to an older audience that doesn’t even really seem to care about the 3D experience. For me, only animated films and something with a lot of spectacle like Avatar or Transformers are worth seeing in 3D.

  • Mephysto

    One of the biggest theatre chains in the country opted to show Fright Night, Conan and Spy Kids in 2D once a day and in 3D at least 3 to 4 times, forcing audiences to pay more… Guess that’s another reason too for low attendance

    • Jo

      Yup, my theater did this. People changed what they were seeing or left when they found out there were only 3D showings available.

      3D is actually HURTING more than helping. After this year, I think it’s on death’s door — fortunately.

    • Jennifer

      That’s because the movie companies (Lionsgate, Dreamworks, Weinstein) REQUIRE theatres to give the 3D versions their best showtimes.

    • Nick

      I wanted to see Fright Night, but the theater near me was only showing it in 3D, so I passed.

    • Derek

      I’m living in downtown Toronto and the theatres didn’t even have the 2D option for either Fright Night or Conan. Nobody wants to pay more for lackluster 3D – I think I would agree that it contributed to the poor box office.

    • Asha

      Our theatre did this too. I really wanted to see Fright Night but 3D makes me nauseated and the only non 3D showing was at 10:45 in the morning. Not gonna happen.

  • Dominic

    I saw 30 Minutes or Less last night. Considering that it stared Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson, it should have been a lot funnier than it was.

  • 2D forever!

    3D is too expensive, it never looks good and the glasses are a pain.

    • Regina George

      Way to state the obvious.

      • Me

        Way to be a jerk. Now go eat some butter.

      • Tom

        Boom! Roasted.

  • outside agitator

    Fright Night was decent although I watched it in a theater that was empty except for Beavis and Butthead who were stoned and laughed loudly throughout the movie. the 3D sucked like a scene from Brown Bunny. check out the flick on Blu-Ray.

    • Kris

      I agree. Fright Night was a really decent movie. And I went in expecting nothing from it in all truth. It was a really good movie, remake or not.

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