‘The Help’ Wins the Holiday Weekend Box Office Prize

Posted by at 7:39 pm on September 5, 2011

DreamWorks Pictures’ The Help remained on top of the domestic box office for a third straight weekend with an estimated $19 million from 2,843 theaters over the four-day holiday weekend. Written and directed by Tate Taylor and based on the Kathryn Stockett best-seller, the drama has earned an impressive $123.4 million after four weeks. Starring Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel, the adaptation cost just $25 million to make.

Newcomer The Debt debuted in second place with $12.6 million over the four days. The John Madden-directed thriller, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christensen, Marton Csokas, CiarĂ¡n Hinds and Tom Wilkinson, played in 1,826 theaters and averaged $6,873 per location. Released by Focus Features, the movie has earned $14.5 million since hitting theaters on Wednesday.

The Weinstein Company’s new “found footage” thriller Apollo 18 opened in the third spot, collecting $10.7 million from 3,328 theaters for the Friday-to-Monday frame, an average of $3,215 per site. The studio says the film cost less than $5 million to make.

Coming in close in fourth place over the holiday weekend was Relativity Media’s Shark Night 3D, which took in $10.3 million from 2,806 theaters and averaged $3,671. Directed by David R. Ellis and starring Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Katharine McPhee, Chris Carmack, Alyssa Diaz, Joel David Moore, Donal Logue, Sinqua Walls and Chris Zylka, the horror-thriller was made for about $25 million.

20th Century Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes rounded out the top five with $10.3 million for the long weekend. The $93 million film has earned $162.5 million domestically after five weeks.

Also, Sony’s The Smurfs added $5.6 million in 10th place domestically and $23.3 million internationally its sixth weekend of release. Domestically, the movie has earned $133.6 million and worldwide the film’s total has reached $429.4 million.

According to estimates, Hollywood set a new record for the summer, grossing $4.39 billion at the domestic box office. The previous record was 2009’s $4.33 billion while last year’s summer tally came to $4.21 billion. Internationally, box office revenues are expected to hit a record-breaking $8.2 billion for the summer season, which is a large increase over the $5.8 billion earned last year.

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