8.19-21.2011: Weekend Box Office – The $

“Change begins with a whisperand ended with a shout as The Help ($20.018 million) helped itself to #1.  The Kathryn Stockett book-turned-movie climbed to #2 in rare form, shutting out last week’s #1, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the weekend’s four new releases, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($11.644 million), Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night and One Day ($5.079 million).  The Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer & Emma Stone drama was boosted by an increase of 156 theater screens while recurring top ten movies like #4 The Smurfs ($7.802 million) either had no or a negative theater count change.

After two successful weekends at #1, #2 Rise of the Planet of the Apes switched spots with The Help, grossing $16.119 million in its third weekend.  With less 220 theater screens, the domestic gross of the James Franco, Freida Pinto & Caesar (Andy Serkis) movie is at $133.583 million but the estimated foreign gross of $122.7 million is close to catching up.  Rupert Wyatt’s Apes prequel is fairing better than Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and looks to hang on in the top ten at the box office.

#4 Conan the Barbarian was unable to flex his muscles against the top three movies including the third sequel in the Spy Kids series, starring Jessica Alba.  The action/adventure/fantasy grossed only $10.021 million (61% to 3D) to its $90 million budget, a comparable opening box office to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian.  Though the movie was closer to Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, the Marcus Nispel film relied on the 1982 film’s popularity without providing audiences a story in its trailers.  The box office numbers are not Conan‘s only troubles; Stan Lee Media Inc., founded by Stan Lee (but is no longer involved in), is suing for 100% of the movie’s profits.  SLMI claims it owns the rights to the character of Conan and deserves compensation due to an illegal (transfer of rights) agreement between a former SMLI lawyer and the company that green-lit 2011’s Conan the Barbarian.  Even if SLMI wins the suit, the company will probably see little to no green after having seen the results of the first weekend’s gross.

Colin Farrell’s eye may be “electric,” according to co-star Imogen Poots, but Fright Night premiered at a frightful #6 at the box office.  Though the remake was well-received by critics, the reviews were not enough to fill seats at the theaters and therefore, grossed only $7.714 million.  Thankfully, the movie’s budget is just $30 million and has yet to open internationally.  Like Conan, 61% of the movie’s gross is a result of 3D screenings.

The fourth sequel, Final Destination 5, dropped four spots to #7 after debuting at #3 last week.  The movie scared up $7.703 million in just its second week, a 57.3% decline.  The total domestic box office is at $32.326 million and needs only less than $8 million to break even with its $40 million budget.  With a poor box office performance, unlike previous sequel The Final Destination, 5 should be the final of Final Destination.

Check out ‘What To Watch – Theater Edition’ this Friday for this week’s new movie releases….you’ll never turn off the lights at night again.

Feed me at sharon@horrorhaven.com

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