Well, all the new releases this weekend flopped with very good reason, leaving last week’s competitors to struggle for number one again—and Rise of the Planet of the Apes has finally yielded to dramatic literature-to-film adaptation The Help, which took $20.4 million this week, as well as the top of the box office. A remarkable achievement in every way, considering how balanced its advantages and disadvantages are.

The former? Emma Stone is right at the top of that list. There’s no denying, the girl’s got talent, and all her growing number of followers are eager to see Stone stretch her dramatic horizons after a string of straight-up comedies including The House Bunny, Zombieland, and Easy A. The latter two were both critically acclaimed and financially successful. Stone is a good luck charm.

Of course, there’s also the source material. The reason every studio wants to grab up the subsidiary rights on novels these days, is because each story has a legion of followers set in place. And, this book seems to have a solid story, so despite the film being given a somewhat modest budget of only an estimated $26 million—it was a good decision, likely based on projections of how there’s no visual effects and the like.

Lastly, Stone has a substantial supporting cast. Nothing quite wrecks a movie like that one actor you simply cannot stand amidst a good plot and good protagonists. Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard—these are actresses that typically get relatively small film roles, and deserve to have a shot at more meaningful characters with actual significance. They have clearly proven themselves. And, hey! Even Carrie herself is thrown into the mix.

So, despite splitting its audience in half by targeting primarily women, and being the opposite of the summer pop-spectacle tone (especially in comparison to Rise of the Planet of the Apes) expected of an August release, The Help has proven that the right combination of elements can make a drama a success amongst audiences pleading for simple, popcorn entertainment.

The problem with the new releases is that they are all trying to capture a generation of movie-goers come and gone already. Another Spy Kids film? A remake of that awful Schwarzenegger B-movie?? And then, an update to Wes Craven’s not-very-enduring vampire film with Fright Night. These are all films of a style no one actually cares for anymore. These are films that tried to breathe new life into dead cinema¸ and their failures prove it.

I foresee the upcoming new releases faring equally as poorly as this weekend’s, if only because they mark the end of summer and the return of sub-standard films not meant to sustain a company’s wealth. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark looks incredibly convoluted for a Guillermo del Toro story. Our Idiot Brother will be exactly as derivative as it appears by concerning some clueless protagonist causing trouble.

And, Colombiana seems only a mark above Dwayne Johnson’s Faster of last year. Revenge tales haven’t had a breath of fresh material since Quentin Tarantino. The bottom line is, next week’s releases will have minimal impact on the box office unless audiences grow very, very bored with what’s available. 

Rank   Title   Weekend Gross       Total Gross    
1   The Help   $20,479,000         $71,801,000    
2   Rise of the Planet of the Apes   $16,300,000         $133,764,000    
3   Spy Kids: All the Time in the World   $12,020,000         $12,020,000    
4   Conan the Barbarian (2011)   $10,000,000         $10,000,000    
5   The Smurfs   $8,000,000         $117,745,000    
6   Fright Night (2011)   $7,900,000         $8,300,000    
7   Final Destination 5   $7,705,000         $32,328,000    
8   30 Minutes or Less   $6,300,000         $25,762,000    
9   One Day   $5,128,000         $5,128,000    
10   Crazy, Stupid, Love.   $4,950,000         $64,420,000