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The Help reigns again, thanks to Irene

Professional TV junky Deanna Barnert covers all corner of Tinseltown but good television is her passion. Visiting sets, interviewing industry players and critiquing the final product are all in a day's work, as is losing an evening or a...

Irene devastates new releases

With hurricane Irene sending the East Coast into hiding, Aug. 26-28 was a frightful weekend at the box office. The Help managed to hold the lead without being cut down by Irene. New releases Colombiana, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Our Idiot Brother were blown away.

The Help banked $14.3 million this weekend, which was not a bad drop from last weekend's $20.5 million take, especially considering the wrath of Irene. Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek and Allison Janney have banked $96.6 million in 19 days, and still have people talking Oscar.

Irene devastates new releases

Colombiana and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark managed to push Rise of the Planet of the Apes down a few pegs, but just barely. Zoe Saldana's Colombiana opened with $10.3 million to take second place, doing better than her last film, The Losers, but not as well as action usually fairs in the hot summer months.

Some pegged Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, starring Katie Holmes, as the one to beat this weekend, but instead it turned out to be a frightful failure. It came in as one of the lowest openings for a horror flick ever, but managed to beat The Apes by a hair, with $8.69 million, for third.

Rise of Planet of the Apes followed with $8.65 million. That puts The Apes total domestic take at $148.5 million in 22 days. Tack on international sales, and the film has passed the $300 million mark.

Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer, delivered a $6.6 million opening weekend to close out the top five.

The bottom five were Spy Kids: All the Time in the World with $5.7 million; The Smurfs with $4.8 million, Conan the Barbarian with $3.1 million, Fright Night with $3 million and Crazy, Stupid, Love with $2.9 million, in that order.

Conan has a long way to go to recoup its $90 million reported budget. The revamp has banked $22.1 worldwide so far, leaving quite a gap.

In contrast, while The Smurfs have dropped to seventh stateside, the little blue guys are still raging overseas. This weekend, The Smurfs, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Final Destination 5 fought a seriously tight battle. With The Smurfs expected to be crowned official victor when final numbers come in, Final Destination 5 has banked $119.7 abroad, almost twice the $66.5 domestically take.

The new contenders for Labor Day weekend include The Debt, Apollo 18 and Shark Night 3D, along with limited releases Love Crime, Saving Private Perez, Seven Days in Utopia, InSight, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Bodyguard and A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.

Box Office Top Ten: Aug. 26-28, 2011

1 The Help $14.3 million ($96.6)
2 Colombiana $10.3 million
3 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark $8.69 million
4 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $8.65 million
5 Our Idiot Brother $6.6 million
6 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World $5.7 million
7 The Smurfs $4.8 million
8 Conan the Barbarian $3.1 million
9 Fright Night $3 million
10 Crazy, Stupid, Love. $2.9 million

Photo courtesy of DreamWorks II Distribution Company, LLC

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