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Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 08/15/2011

‘The Help’ edged out at box office by ‘Planet of the Apes’


“The Help,” debuting in second place at the box office. (Dale Robinette/DreamWorks)
All the buzz and controversy surrounding the movie “The Help” was not enough to make it the No. 1 film in the country.

That honor went to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” for a second straight week; the movie earned $27.5 million over the weekend. The adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel came in second with an estimated $25.5 million.

Is that a strong showing for “The Help”? Did only women show up to see the movie? And how did both Aziz Ansari and “Glee” fare at the box office this weekend? The details after the jump.

“Apes” evolves past $100 million: The success of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” a film that was much better than its trailers indicated, officially qualifies as one of the big surprises of the summer movie season. In addition to holding down the top spot for two consecutive weeks — a feat that not even “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” managed to pull off — it also just crossed the $100 million mark, having earned more than $104 million in North America and just over $179 million worldwide.

The details on “The Help”: This female-oriented film about the touchy subject of civil rights couldn’t compete with “Apes.” (If only director Tate Taylor had thrown in a climactic action sequence on a San Francisco bridge, maybe this film would have stood a chance.) But that $25.5 million it earned over the weekend and the $35.3 million total that it’s accumulated since last Wednesday’s opening is still considered a strong showing.

So who came to see “The Help? Mostly older moviegoers — according to Box Office Mojo, 60 percent of the audience was 35 and older. And yes, mostly women, although not the overwhelming percentage I thought. According to the studio’s exit polling, 74 percent of ticket buyers were female. Which is a significant chunk of people, but I was expecting something along the lines of 98.4 percent. Let’s hear it for all 26 percent of those men who boldly agreed to see an alleged chick flick.

Final Destination 5” could be the final “Final Destination”: The horror sequel landed in third place with $18.4 million. But that’s still less than all the other movies in the franchise brought in during their first weekends, with the exception of the first one. Then again, maybe “Final Destination 6” will totally cheat death and manage to live, even though it totally should have bit it when the plane crashed. I mean, maybe?

“30 Minutes or Less”? Try less: The Jesse Eisenberg/Aziz Ansari comedy was not embraced by critics or the public, making just $13 million and landing in fifth place. If nothing else, I am sad for Tom Haverford. DJ Roomba is only playing melancholy music today.

Gleeks don’t go to the movies: “Glee” fans, you officially let Sue Sylvester win. “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” was the lowest-performing new release of the weekend. It didn’t even crack the top 10; it landed in 11th place with $5.7 million and an estimated 500,000 tickets sold. Apparently people don’t like to pay for entertainment they can get for free on Fox. On the other hand, making $5.7 million via a film based largely on concert footage and therefore probably not costing that much to produce? Yeah, that isn’t exactly the worst deal in the world.

And now, your top five movies of the weekend, based on studio estimates:

1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — $27.5 million

2. “The Help” — $25.5 million

3. “Final Destination 5” — $18.4 million

4. “The Smurfs” — $13.5 million

5. “30 Minutes or Less” — $13 million

And here’s your chance to predict next weekend’s winner. Can the ”Apes” be Numero Uno for three weeks in a row? You decide.

By  |  12:32 PM ET, 08/15/2011

Categories:  Movies

 
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