8.26-28.2011: Weekend Box Office – The $

Bringing damaging rains, winds and surf, Hurricane Irene struck the East Coast, stopping at every theater from the south to the north.  Although the rest of the US and most of Canada did not feel the physical effects of the storm, the box office felt quite the punch as only two movies surpassed the $10 million mark.  Hurricane-proof The Help ($14.536 million) returned as #1 followed by its closest competition, just released #2 Colombiana ($10.408 million).  Rise of the Planet of the Apes held off the two other new movies of the weekend, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and #5 Our Idiot Brother ($7.011 million).  The top ten earned a total of only less than $70 million over the dark and stormy weekend but was it Irene or the movies themselves?

Hanging on in the top five, Rise of the Planet of the Apes fell only one spot to #3.  The successful reboot of the Apes franchise grossed $8.867 million in its fourth weekend, totaling $148.674 million domestically.  Doing even better overseas, the movie’s foreign gross is at an estimated $157.3 million with a worldwide gross of $305.974 million, over triple its $93 million budget.

Troy Nixey’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark debuted at #4 and the numbers are something to be afraid of.  The $25 million film, co-written and co-produced by Guillermo del Toro, grossed $8.525 million at 2,760 theaters in its domestic-only release.  The horror tv-to-film remake appealed to two populations: females under 25 and Latinos.  It’s unusual but makes sense; the starring role of Kim is played by Katie Holmes, and Mexican-born del Toro’s influence is seen throughout the film.  Unfortunately, Zoe Saldana also appealed to females in the action/adventure drama Colombiana and probably stole a significant percent of the female audience.  Also, with two back-to-back natural disasters in one week, audiences probably couldn’t deal with any more scares and stayed away from the little monsters in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

Released on the same Friday last weekend, Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night are not feeling the love like their original counterparts.  Conan dropped from #4 to #8 with a thunderous 68.2% decline in gross.  Earning just $3.185 million, the movie is far from its $90 million budget and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $68.851 million (worldwide) from Conan of 1982 clearly overshadows the 2011 remake.  Fright Night followed Conan‘s four spot drop to #10, grossing $3.103 million with the second biggest decline of the weekend at -59.8%.  The vampire remake is not as critically successful as its original but Fright Night will likely break even with its $30 million budget as it has yet to premiere in international theaters (though London’s FrightFest attendees previewed it on Saturday).  Maybe it’s better to leave well enough alone.

Check out ‘What To Watch – Theater Edition’ on Friday for this week’s new movie releases….as if this fish wasn’t fascinating and frightening enough, they’re now in 3D.

Feed me at sharon@horrorhaven.com

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