The Reject ReportThey came. They stood. They weren’t afraid of a thing. And when the dust settled, they swept that up with the rest of the competition. Here in its third weekend out, The Help continues to pull in new as well as repeat audiences, and is very close to breaking the $100m barrier. Subsequent from its opening weekend, its percentage drops have been quite impressive: 23.1% down last weekend from the weekend before and 28.4% down this weekend from last. Though future weekends might see films open big enough to knock the period drama out of the top spot, its percentage downsizing doesn’t seem likely to grow, and The Help will end up being quite the success story come year end. And that’s even before the expected Oscar nominations for it are announced.

Colombiana and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’s numbers were somewhat flip-flopped from what I anticipated. Colombiana was the only other film besides The Help to pull in double digits this weekend, but just barely. It didn’t perform too terribly worse than Olivier Megaton’s previous film’s opening weekend. Transporter 3 debuted with $12m, and ended up topping $100m worldwide. With Luc Besson’s name attached to Colombiana as well, you can expect foreign numbers to be much more favorable than domestic.
Rounding out the top three was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, another film with a foreign director’s name attached that could end up helping it in overall, worldwide gross. It was only able to scare up – God, I love doing that – $8.6m this weekend, but don’t let that number fool you. Even The Orphanage, also produced by Guilermo del Toro, pulled in only $7.1m domestic but made $71.4m worldwide. Granted, that was a foreign language film, but the worldwide gross for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark seems likely to make the $25m film a success.

Speaking of gross vs. budget, Our Idiot Brother might look like a horrible Sundance investment for the Weinstein Company, since it opened in fifth place with $6.5m. However, with a reported budget of only $5m, it can already make the “hey, we’re in the black” claim. Still, with an R-rating and Paul Rudd in the lead, you would have expected it to perform better, so Our Idiot Brother not having a bigger opening could be an indication of how log-jammed the market is with such R-rated comedies.

And then we have Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night, two films that had disappointing openings last weekend and two films that had second weekend drops that are staggering to say the least. When it’s all said and done, Fright Night with its reported $30m budget will fare better than Conan’s $90m budget. Still, neither look to be successes of any kind, expanding a black mark that’s already been put on remakes as well as 3D films. Time will certainly tell if either of these trends will falter, and it will probably take bigger letdowns than this to make any noticeable change.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. The Help – $14.3m (-28.4%) $96.6m total
  2. Colombiana – $10.3m NEW
  3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – $8.6m NEW
  4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $8.6m (-46.3%) $148.4m total
  5. Our Idiot Brother – $6.5m NEW
  6. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World – $5.7m (-50.8%) $21.7m total
  7. The Smurfs – $4.8m (-38.5%) $125.9m total
  8. Conan the Barbarian – $3.1m (-69.1%) $16.5m total
  9. Fright Night – $3m (-60.7%) $14.2m total
  10. Crazy, Stupid, Love. – $2.9m (-39.4%) $69.5m total

Hang your head in shame, weekend box office, because you’ve just tied for the worst weekend of 2011. At $67.8m, you made just as much as Superbowl weekend when The Roommate debuted in the #1 slot with $15m. Sure, one of these weekends made slightly more than the other, but our strict “we only count to the hundred thousandth decimal point” policy dictates it’s a tie. We’re not above handing out ties here at the Reject Report.

Next weekend looks to do better with two anticipated horror film hitting. Wait, did I just refer to Shark Night 3D as “anticipated”? Yes. Yes, I did. The other one is Apollo 18 continuing the found footage trend. The other film opening is The Debt, which has neither sharks, bikinis, or any found footage, though no one would be opposed to Helen Mirren starring in a film that had all three. No one. Yes, that includes you.

We’ll be back on Thursday to see how the weekend is shaping up.


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