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Weekend Box Office: Audience Still Bananas for Apes; The Help Close Behind

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By Chris Kavan - 08/14/11 at 10:52 PM CT

Despite having to go up against four new releases, Rise of the Planet of the Apes held on to the top spot for the second week in a row.

The prequel film dropped 50%, but still managed to bring in $27.5 million. With a $104.8 million total, it is now leading fellow prequel film X-Men: First Class, which only had $98 million during the same time. An even better indication is that it managed to hold on to more of its audience as well, coming in ahead of G.I. Joe and I, Robot among comparable films. It's still tracking behind Tim Burton's remake, but the numbers bode well for future films in the series.

After a decent midnight opening, The Help scored a solid $25.5 million second-place opening (or $35.4 million with the extra days added in). Compared to the most recent female-driven films based on novels - Eat, Pray, Love ($23.1 million) and Jule & Julia ($20 million) the news looks even better. Fully 74% of the audience was female and 60% was over 35 but they showed up in force for the feel-good film.

The same can't be said for the other three new films that opened. Final Destination 5 managed to land in third place with $18.4 million, but for the first time it opened worse than its predecessor (The Final Destination opened with $27.4 million). The film can boast the largest 3D audience to date this year - as 75% of grosses came from the enhanced dimension screenings. Yet the film was also the worst-attended in the franchise history - even lower than the original's premiere. One can only hope another mediocre horror franchise can finally be retired.

The comedy 30 Minutes or Less landed with a soft fifth-place $13 million - a far cry from Zombieland's $24.7 million. While it was on par with Observe and Report and Scott Pilgrim, neither of those films was considered a success, and this looks to follow that same pattern.

Falling outside the top ten was the Glee: The 3D Concert Movie - opening in 11th with just $5.7 million. It seems the Gleek nation is waning, as even the disappointing Jonah Brothers concert movie opened with $12.5 million. Guess they should have stuck to the show.

Two milestones were crossed over the weekend as well. The Smurfs fourth-place $13.5 million helped it cross the $100 million mark for a $101.5 million total. While I weep quietly for my childhood memories, the film has surpassed most expectations and other than Alvin and the Chipmunks (again, childhood memories gone in a flash) it remains one of the top films in its genre.

Meanwhile Captain America: The First Avenger took in $7.1 million - good enough for seventh place. More importantly it passed the $150 million mark and now stands at $156.8 million - still tracking just behind Thor for super hero summer supremacy.

While not the official end to the summer, next week's Conan the Barbarian looks to be the last of the really bombastic films (at least until December rolls around). Meanwhile Fight Night hopes to make vampires less shiny, Spy Kids return for a fourth time and One Day hopes romance still hold promise.

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