Weekend Box Office: Hurricane Irene Hurts, Box Office Needs ‘Help’

Once again, the somber racial drama ‘The Help’ has taken first place at the box office. Although The Hollywood Reporter claims that Hurricane Irene, which hit the East Coast this weekend, cost $25 million in weekend losses, the three-week-old film earned another $14.3 million. That’s down only 28.4% from last weekend. Less than four million away from crossing the $100 million mark, help is one thing that ‘The Help’ absolutely does not need – despite this being the second lowest weekend of the year at the box office.

The Luc Besson-written action flick ‘Colombiana‘ beat out the other three nationwide openers with an unimpressive $10.3 million. Starring gorgeous Zoe Saldana in skin-tight suits that leave very little to the imagination, it’s surprising that Sony’s exit polls show that 57% of audiences were female. With films of this genre, males usually attend in flocks.

Riding off the success of its first releases (horror movie ‘Insidious’ and inspirational ‘Soul Surfer’), new studio FilmDistrict isn’t going to rake a lot of cash with ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark‘. Although the Guillermo del Toro co-written screenplay is leaps and bounds above most modern films of the horror genre, marketing hasn’t quite given the movie the appeal that it deserves. Opening in third place, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ only pulled in $8.6 million. With a budget of only $25 million, it won’t be long before the film is profitable – but nothing like the success of ‘Insidious’.

The indie R-rated comedy ‘Our Idiot Brother‘ already made its budget back despite coming in fifth place with a low $6.5 million debut. Starring Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks and slew of other fantastic comedic actors, ‘Our Idiot Brother’ is up to par with the other solid R-rated winners of the summer. Not only does it feature all of the laughs one would expect, but it has a surprisingly big heart as well.

Notable drop-offs of the week include the ‘Fright Night‘ remake, which fell from sixth place to ninth in its second weekend with a 60.7% decline, and ‘Conan the Barbarian‘, which fell more than 69% in its second weekend.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Help’ (Buena Vista) – $14,333,000

2. ‘Colombiana’ (TriStar) – $10,300,000

3. ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ (FilmDistrict) – $8,689,000

4. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (Fox) – $8,650,000

5. ‘Our Idiot Brother’ (Weinstein) – $6,588,000

6. ‘Spy Kids: All the Time in the World’ (Weinstein/Dimension) – $5,727,000

7. ‘The Smurfs’ (Sony) – $4,800,000

8. ‘Conan the Barbarian’ (Lionsgate) – $3,100,000

9. ‘Fright Night’ (Buena Vista) – $3,029,000

10. ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ (Warner Bros.) – $2,905,000


  1. Luke (and editor Josh), I hope you’ll excuse me for posting a slightly off-topic comment … but unfortunately, comments are closed for older ‘Bonus View’-posts.

    I’d just like to thank you (and this blog) for your ‘Super 8’-review! The movie opened just last week in Belgium, I saw it two days ago and I can safely say that you, once again, proved your mastery as a film critic. “Super 8” is indeed the best movie of 2011 so far. The cast is supremely excellent, the story is moving, the music is rousing … it’s just an all-around GREAT movie!

    Thanks for leading the way!

  2. I’m looking forward to ‘Don’t be afraid of the dark’ when it gets to the UK. As for Conan… it looked terrible. I’m a huge Conan fan, and I still couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to go and see it. Rise of the Planet of the Apes wasn’t stunningly brilliant, but it was pretty good overall, so stands out from the crowd of mediocrity around it. I agree with Julian on Super 8. Best movie this year, so far!

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