Last week, I mentioned that The Help was the only variable—was I ever wrong about that. Although it did accumulate a significant amount more profit than imagined, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has taken its second week in a row, adding to the list of high-budget summer films including Transformers 3 and Thor to take consecutive weekends. The number one reason was the genuinely emotional and summer-feel to this weekend’s number one, drawing in $27.5 million its second week on top.

I still believe 30 Minutes or Less actually underperformed. True, the premise seemed a bit spontaneous and unnecessary for the Zombieland team Ruben Fleischer and newly formed star of mass proportions Jesse Eisenberg. This failure at the box office doesn’t help upcoming sequel to their initial film together, having made only $13 million on opening weekend. The full-on, straight-up, raunchy comedic approach for 30 Minutes or Less pales in comparison to the more subtle humor of Zombieland, and is likely the Achilles heel of the film.

As expected, Glee 3D: The Movie failed in every way (including making the poor critics whose job it was to view the film nauseous). And, Final Destination 5 did as well as projected, too, raking in money from 3D tickets and fans of gruesomely creative(?) deaths and managing $18.4 million. Still, Cowboys and Aliens sunk a lot farther than anticipated—completely out of the box office with $7.6 million.

No one would have believed in the first years of the 21st century that as money-grubbing The Smurfs-mongering studio men busied themselves about their various concerns, a drama like The Help would be scrutinized to the point of making $25.5 million and coming in second during a summer of tent-poles like Super 8 and Transformers 3. Especially since the film is primarily about women, which cuts its audience directly in half.

Unless you’ve got a crush on Emma Stone enough, this film is practically gender-restricted. I think you can count the number of male characters on your hands, actually. Still, there’s no denying the talent of Ms. Stone, and along with theatrical familiar face Viola Davis and cameo-character-actor Bryce Dallas Howard, a strong cast upholds an emotional plot with genuine substance. Who knows? Maybe if audiences keep giving films like these money, we may end up with all the depth and character arcs we claim we want.

And once again, we have a difficult weekend to tell, because each of the four new releases provides a genre that typically makes a decent amount of money. Fright Night is a horror remake of the “classic” by Wes Craven—but it simply doesn’t seem strong enough to really draw in audiences. Particularly after Let Me In was such a remarkably successful American remake vampire tale, which includes for the most part the same premise as Fright Night. Only, with characters we can care about. This vampire story is likely to suffer at the box office.

However, the next Spy Kids film (hopefully the last) has the opportunity to do very well. It’s summer, it’s pure kids—as indicated by the title—and that audience is significantly larger than any of the other genres releasing this weekend. That goes for One Day, too, for all those women out there. Even Conan the Barbarian doesn’t seem like it’s getting much attention. Considering how purely awful the original was, though, maybe now that studios have run out of good movies to ruin, they’ll start remaking bad films that actually need a remake.

USAWeekend Box-Office Summary
August 14, 2011

TW

 

Title

 

Weekend Gross

 

 

 

Total Gross

 

Week #

1

 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes  

$27,500,000

 

 

 

 

$104,876,000

 

2

2

 

The Help  

$25,525,000

 

 

 

 

$35,399,000

 

1

3

 

Final Destination 5  

$18,400,000

 

 

 

 

$18,400,000

 

1

4

 

The Smurfs  

$13,500,000

 

 

 

 

$101,546,000

 

3

5

 

30 Minutes or Less  

$13,000,000

 

 

 

 

$13,000,000

 

1

6

 

Cowboys & Aliens  

$7,613,000

 

 

 

 

$81,476,000

 

3

7

 

Captain America: The First Avenger  

$7,125,000

 

 

 

 

$156,885,000

 

4

8

 

Crazy, Stupid, Love.  

$6,930,000

 

 

 

 

$55,402,000

 

3

9

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2  

$6,875,000

 

 

 

 

$356,961,000

 

5

10

 

The Change-Up  

$6,219,000

 

 

 

 

$25,751,000

 

2