Yes, the Apes did it again, gnashing teeth, riding horseback, and basically decimating life as we know it, but it was the more subdued – I’m going by conjecture on that. For all I know Emma Stone leads a revolution against the tyranny of mankind, as well – The Help that surprised with its own bountiful opening. It was a close day-to-day race with Rise of the Planet of the Apes leading the weekend each day, but a few of those days were within the $1m range. With The Help opening last Wednesday, there’s no telling how much repeat viewings were factored in. However, it’s a pretty good guess the period drama would have taken the weekend had it opened on Friday.

Still, an impressive haul for a film that wasn’t overly hyped. Good word of mouth and the almost hidden adoration people had for the novel were buzz enough to give it the opening it needed. The film will likely continue to pull in decent money over the coming weeks. People will want to see what all the fuss is about, and with potential Oscar buzz hitting for the actresses involved, The Help is sure to be the sleeper hit of early Fall.

The same can’t be said for the other new releases this weekend. That fresh car smell has officially waned on the Final Destination vehicle, as the fifth installment brought in the lowest opening since 2003’s Final Destination 2. $18.4m isn’t a horrid opening, but with critics and audiences alike saying the film ends precisely where the series should end, it may be time for Warner Brothers/New Line to take notice. However, that’s a pretty slim pipe dream. As long as the Final Destination movies make an iota of profit, as long as a minimal amount of people want to see what kind of wacky contraptions death sets up for the oblivious victims, we’ll be putting on our 3-D glasses to see the next installment soon enough.

On the other side of things, though, 30 Minutes or Less didn’t exactly woo crowds into dishing out their dollars and the Glee movie didn’t even rank in the top 10. It came in at #11 with $5.7m, actually not bad considering it was essentially a DVD release that found its way into 2000 theaters.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 moved up in the world overtaking The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King for the #3 spot on the all-time worldwide chart. It now rests comfortably behind two James Cameron movies that shall remain nameless and don’t have a thing to worry about from the boy who lived. $1.2b is where Deathly Hallows 2 stands worldwide. I’ll go ahead and take .00001% of that. They won’t miss it, right?

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $27.5m (-49.8%) $104.8m total
  2. The Help – $25.5m NEW $35.3m since Wednesday
  3. Final Destination 5 – $18.4m NEW
  4. The Smurfs – $13.5m (-34.8%) $101.5m total
  5. 30 Minutes or Less – $13m NEW
  6. Cowboys & Aliens – $7.6m (-51.6%) $81.4m total
  7. Captain America: The First Avenger – $7.1m (-45.3%) $156.8m total
  8. Crazy, Stupid, Love. – $6.9m (-42.3%) $55.4m total
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $6.8m (-44.8%) $356.9m total
  10. The Change-Up – $6.2m (-54%) $25.7m total

And with Summer closed, it’s time for the total box office numbers to begin their slow descend into Fall slumber. Okay, maybe not so much a slumber. More like a restful power nap. $132.5m is what we’ve got from the top 10 here. It was heavily aided by the surprise debut The Help was met with, but that was counteracted from Apes dropping a bit more than expected and the other new releases not living up to their fullest potential.

Next weekend sees the release of three genre flicks and one starring Jim Sturgess, so you know it’ll probably be boring. Note: that wasn’t a jab at Sturgess. He’s a fine actor who picks some seriously boring projects. Clarification aside, we’ve got Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World – wasn’t that a Bond song? – and One Day opening. One Day? Even the title is boring. Sorry, Jim. We still love you.

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

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