Twentieth Century Fox’s "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend with $27.5 million, while DreamWorks and Participant Media’s "The Help" exceeded predictions in grossing $25.5 million for a second place finish and stellar five-day debut of $35.4 million.
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The big casualty of the domestic box office race was Fox’s "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie," which came in No. 11 in its debut, grossing just $5.7 million. The financial sting is minimized by the pic’s modest $9 million budget, but perception is a separate issue, considering how popular the TV show is.
Those who turned out did like what they saw, giving "Glee the Movie"—which is only playing in 3D theaters—an A CinemaScore (moviegoers under the age of 25 gave it an A+). The concert pic played heavily to younger girls, with females making up 82% of the audience, while 66% were under the age of 25.
Fox took solace in the fact that "Rise of the Apes" jumped the $100 million mark at the domestic box office in its second frame, dropping only 50%.
“We have a movie that is a broad, mainstream commercial hit. It’s remarkable to only drop 50% and do $27.5 million worth of business, despite $60 million worth of new movies coming into the marketplace,” Fox senior vice president of distribution Chris Aronson said.
Disney, which distributed "The Help" for DreamWorks and Participant, also was ebullient. The female-driven movie, based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel about white women and their maids in the Jim Crow south, drew an A+ CinemaScore, virtually guaranteeing a long and healthy run.
“The fact that audiences are responding this way couldn’t make us any happier,” Disney executive vice president of distributionDave Hollis said.
"The Help," directed by Tate Taylor (Stockett’s childhood friend), played especially well in African-American theaters and upscale commercial theaters, such as the Landmark and ArcLight in Los Angeles, and Lincoln Square in New York.
The movie's large ensemble cast is led by Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Box office results
While 74% of Friday night’s audience was female, that stat dropped to 69% on Saturday, indicating that more older men were showing up.
“It gives us a great deal of hope that more and more people will be exposed to it,” Hollis said.
"The Help," costing $25 million to produce, was co-financed by DreamWorks and Participant, while 1492 Pictures produced the movie with Brunson Green and Taylor's film company.
Faced with competition from "Rise of the Apes" for male attention, "Final Destination 5" and Ruben Fleischer’s R-rated action-comedy "30 Minutes or Less" opened to ho-hum results.
"Final 5," from New Line and Warner Bros., opened at No. 3, grossing $18.4 million and receiving a B+ CinemaScore. Heading into the weekend, box office observers thought the 3D pic, costing $45 million to produce, would open north of $20 million. The last title in the franchise, "The Final Destination," debuted to $27.4 million in August 2009.
The good news: "Final Destination" drew 75% of its grosses from 3D locations.
"In a summer of light 3D performances, to do 75% is huge," said Warner Bros. executive vice president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein.
"30 Minutes or Less," headlining Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari and Danny McBride, grossed $13 million for the weekend. The pic received a B CinemaScore, with men making up 58% of the audience. Nearly 70% of those turning out were under the age of 25.
Copyright 2012 The Hollywood Reporter