‘Apes’ stays dominant
LOS ANGELES - Rebellious apes have held off Southern maids for a narrow win at the weekend box office.
Studio estimates yesterday pegged “Rise of the Planet of the Apes’’ at $27.5 million, good enough for its second straight top finish. The 20th Century Fox release raised its 10-day domestic total to $104.9 million.
The “Planet of the Apes’’ prequel came in ahead of “The Help,’’ a drama about Mississippi maids in the time of the civil rights movement that debuted in second place with $25.5 million. A
The Warner Bros. horror sequel “Final Destination 5,’’ the latest in the franchise where death stalks victims who had been fated to die earlier, opened in third place with $18.4 million.
The weekend’s other two new wide releases had soft openings. Sony’s action comedy “30 Minutes or Less,’’ starring Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza deliveryman forced to help rob a bank, was fifth with $13 million, just behind Sony’s surprise animated smash, “The Smurfs,’’ which slipped to fourth with $13.5 million but lifted its three-week total to $101.5 million.
The singers from TV’s “Glee’’ failed to find a big-screen audience as 20th Century Fox’s “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie’’ opened at number 11 with just $5.7 million. The concert film was shot during the cast’s recent North American tour.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes’’ and “The Help’’ have exceeded their studios’ expectations. Both received strong reviews, “Apes’’ for surprising drama amid dazzling visual effects, “The Help’’ for great performances from Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and their costars in the adaptation of the bestseller about black maids who go public with stories about working for often racist white employers.
The “Apes’’ prequel added $40.5 million overseas, raising its international total to $75 million and worldwide haul to nearly $180 million.
Female crowds made up 74 percent of the audience for “The Help,’’ and 60 percent of viewers were older than 35. That’s a sign “The Help’’ could have a long shelf life at theaters, since women and older audiences tend to get drawn to films through word-of-mouth rather than rushing out over opening weekend the way younger crowds do.
“The Help’’ already has far outpaced the $20 million Disney executives hoped for over the first five days, and the film is playing strongly in both urban and middle-America markets, said Dave Hollis, the studio’s head of distribution.
“The Smurfs’’ also has outstripped expectations. The family hit added $60 million overseas to raise its total to $242 million worldwide, and
Overall domestic business increased for the fifth straight weekend. At $152 million, revenues were up 6 percent from the same weekend last year, when “The Expendables’’ led with $34.8 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
“We’re ending the summer on a high note,’’ said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The usually unsung month of August can be the time when a lot of unexpected things happen that benefit the box office.’’
Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through yesterday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final domestic figures will be released today.