BOX OFFICE: Hurricane Irene Leads to Lowest Weekend of 2011

The Help managed to stay on top for another weekend, but every movie this weekend was affected by the weather that swept up and down the East Coast. Due to evacuations, power outages, and people choosing to remain indoors the weekend Box Office was the lowest it has been since September of 2010. Not only did Hurricane Irene affect the Box Office haul, but Fall is a naturally slow time and this weekend’s numbers indicate that slow season may be coming early. Even this weekend’s limited releases Circumstance and Higher Ground, which were both well-reviewed, barely made a dent in the small markets they were released in.

Box Office Estimates
August 26-28, 2011

1) The Help (3rd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $14.33 million

I was originally among the skeptics who thought that there was no way that The Help would hang on long enough to be a real Best Picture contender. However, the Oscar prognosticators who use Box Office success to make their case may have some support. The word of mouth for The Help is fantastic, which has obviously contributed to its place as the number one film of the weekend for the second week in a row.

2) Colombiana (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $10.3 million

Zoe Saldana was hoping for a sequel to this movie because she had such a blast making it, but I don’t think these initial numbers are enough to secure a franchise for her. Even though a third of the country was incapacitated this weekend, they are likely to read the negative reviews before they head back to the theatres next weekend.

3) Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $8.69 million

Horror movies tend to do well in the Fall and if this movie gets good word of mouth, it could have decent legs. Critics were mixed on the film and audiences might be as well, but the genre has a built-in crowd and it could hold on for a few more weeks.

4) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (4th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $8.65 million

In my summation of the Summer Box Office I mentioned that this would be the weekend that Rise of the Planet of the Apes enters into the top ten movies of the Summer and it did just that. It should have a couple more weekends with decent returns which could bring it up to the number 9 spot.

5) Our Idiot Brother (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $6.59 million

Once again the best reviewed wide release of the weekend was the lowest grossing film. However, the meager budget for this comedy makes it more profitable than its competitors so far. It probably won’t hold on for more than one or two weeks in the top ten, but it already made back its $5 million budget, so it is doing just fine.

6) Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $5.73 million

I had kind of forgotten that this movie was in theatres (and in Smell-O-Vision no less). It will barely have made $30 million by the time its out of the Box Office top ten, so I do not expect this technology to continue, but for now it has at least one more weekend.

7) The Smurfs (5th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $4.8 million

This film has had a somewhat similar trajectory to the Alvin in the Chipmunks movies where they never reach number one, but hang on for a long time. The Smurfs has already earned $126 million domestically and is one of the top 15 highest grossing movies of the year.

8) Conan the Barbarian (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $3.1 million

With a drop of 69% in its second weekend Conan the Barbarian is this week’s biggest loser. It had one of the lowest per theatre averages and only managed to stay in the top ten because it is widely distributed. When its theatre count decreases, it will drop quickly.

9) Fright Night (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $3.03 million

The flop of this film makes two 80s remakes that went nowhere this season. Luckily this film had one third the budget of Conan the Barbarian so it’s not quite as big of a loss.

10) Crazy, Stupid, Love (5th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.91 million

This movie held on to the 10th spot for two weekends in a row while everything shifted around it. It also managed to have a higher per theatre average than films #6 through 9 this week. It could manage to hang on for one more weekend if its theatre count doesn’t decline too much next weekend.

Box Office estimates are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Look for Apollo 18 to challenge The Help for the number one spot next weekend.

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