9.2-5.2011: Weekend Box Office – The $

Working over Labor Day, The Help ($14.594 million) effortlessly continued its box office reign as #1 in its third straight weekend.  Will director Tate Taylor’s drama finally be challenged by star-packed Contagion next weekend?  Trailing at a distance in The Help‘s footsteps were the long weekend’s three new releases; #2 The Debt ($9.909 million), Apollo 18 and Shark Night 3D.  Much like the ‘end of summer’ hit The Help, Rise of the Planet of the Apes continued to surprise, rounding out the top five of the 4-day weekend’s box office.

#3 Apollo 18 and #4 Shark Night 3D are a ‘space shuttle and a boat’ world apart but the box numbers couldn’t be closer.  The two new horror movies grossed $8.704 million and $8.404 million, respectively, a difference of only $300,011.  The ‘found-footage’ film of Apollo 18 screened at 3,328 theaters over Shark Night 3D‘s 2,806 theaters but the fish movie averaged slightly better, probably due to the higher ticket cost of 3D screenings; 86% of Shark Night 3D’s sales were 3D.  Both movies appealed equally to both sexes though males preferred Apollo 18 while females preferred Shark Night 3D.

Bumped out of the third spot but staying strong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a close #5.  Grossing $7.915 million in its fifth weekend, but its first 4-day weekend, the simian reboot reported only a -10.7% drop even with less 181 theater count.  The action/sci-fi drama is excelling internationally, grossing an estimated $185.1 million, while domestically, it has earned $162.55 million.

Guillermo del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was supposed to frighten audiences into the darkness of the theater but apparently, the horror is frightening people away from filling seats.  Falling four spots to #8, the remake gained 20 theater screens but lost 39.1% to gross $5.195 million.  The movie is nearing its $25 million budget with a worldwide gross of $18.469 million, $17.822 million of it domestically.  This month, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is expected to reach a few more countries to add to its tiny foreign box office.

Check out ‘What To Watch – Theater Edition’ on Friday for this week’s new movie releases….all the Purell in the world won’t save us.

Feed me at sharon@horrorhaven.com

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