Weekend Report: 'Apes' Cling to Top Spot, 'Help' Cleans Up
Rise of the Planet of the Apes fended off an onslaught of four new nationwide releases to top the weekend box office again. The Help won the debut dust-up, blind-siding a tepid Final Destination 5, while 30 Minutes or Less and Glee The 3D Concert Movie floundered.

Descending 49 percent, Rise of the Planet of the Apes packed $27.8 million. Though steep, the sci-fi thriller's second weekend slide was less severe than Planet of the Apes (2001), I, Robot, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and X-Men: First Class, among comparable titles. With a $105.2 million haul in ten days, Rise is tracking ahead of fellow 20th Century Fox prequel/reboot X-Men: First Class ($98 million) and has out-grossed most of its key comps through the same point, aside from the last Planet remake's $123.7 million (or $174.2 million normalized for ticket-price inflation).

The Help served up $26 million on approximately 3,100 screens at 2,534 locations, exceeding the debuts of the major female-driven book adaptations of the last two Augusts, Julie & Julia ($20 million) and Eat Pray Love ($23.1 million). Aided by a more broadly-appealing story (in the vein of The Blind Side) than the narrower Julie and Eat, Help has shown even greater initial popularity, since it opened on Wednesday, unlike those two movies, and has tallied $35.9 million in five days. Help reaffirmed that the summer can accommodate feel-good movies, not just big spectacles, comedies and kids movies. Distributor Walt Disney Pictures' exit polling indicated that 74 percent of The Help's audience was female and 60 percent was age 35 years and older.

In third place, death started to grip the Final Destination franchise, which saw one of its sequels open lower than its predecessors for the first time. Final Destination 5 drew $18 million on close to 4,600 screens at 3,155 locations, and an estimated 75 percent of the gross was from 3D presentations on 2,800 screens at 2,515 locations (highest 3D share of the summer among major releases). Predecessor The Final Destination, also in 3D, debuted to $27.4 million in Aug. 2009, but FD5's estimated attendance was the worst of the franchise, slotting just below the first movie.

In its marketing, Final Destination 5 offered more of the same and no new twists, relying only on the brand and new deaths to lure moviegoers. On top of natural fatigue, the brand was damaged by The Final Destination, which, in additon to being promoted as the final movie, was widely seen as the worst of the series. According to distributor Warner Bros., FD5's audience was 54 percent male (FD4 had a 52 percent female skew) and evenly split between those over and under 25 years old (FD4 was 60 percent under 25).

The Smurfs collected $13.7 million and boasted the smallest percentage drop among nationwide holdovers (34 percent). With a $101.8 million total in 17 days, it has exceeded nearly all recent talking-critter comedies through the same point, excluding the Chipmunks.

Rounding out the Top Five, 30 Minutes or Less mustered $13.3 million on around 3,100 screens at 2,888 locations, which paled relative to Zombieland's $24.7 million first weekend. The action comedy was closer to the league of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Observe and Report and a far cry from Pineapple Express. Distributor Sony Pictures' research showed that 58 percent of 30 Minutes' audience was male and 69 percent was under 25 years old.

Few believed in Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, which ranked 11th with $6 million at 2,040 3D locations. That was far worse than even Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience ($12.5 million) among comparable titles. In its marketing, Glee was strictly for the hardcore "Gleeks," as it came off as redundant and self-congratulatory to more casual watchers who can see the television series for free. Despite the show's hype, only around an esitmated 500,000 tickets were sold for the movie. According to distributor 20th Century Fox, 79 percent of Glee's audience was female and 66 percent was under 25 years old.

The movies ranked No. 6 through No. 9, Cowboys & Aliens, Captain America: The First Avenger, Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, were all within $760,000 of each other, ranging from $7.8 million (Cowboys) to $7.1 million (Crazy). All continued down their expected paths, and Captain crossed the $150 million milestone (in 22 days).

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Last Weekend

Hail the Conquering 'Apes'

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2010 - 'Expendables' Pump Up, 'Eat' Pigs Out, 'Scott Pilgrim' Powers Down

• 2009 - Humans Welcome 'District 9'

• 2008 - 'Tropic Thunder' Rolls Into Top Spot

• 2007 - 'Superbad' Scores

• 2006 - 'Snakes on a Plane' All Hiss and No Bite

• 2005 - 'Virgin,' 'Red Eye' Fly High for Rising Actors

Related Charts:

Weekend Box Office Results

• Showdown: 'Apes' Vs. Comps