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Weekend Predictions: Will The Help Clean Up at the Box Office?

August 25th, 2011

Three wide releases this week, Colombiana, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and My Idiot Brother, but it is likely that none will pose much of a threat to The Help, which is likely to repeat at the top of the box office. There could be an interesting race for second place, as there's no clear consensus on which new release is the strongest or the weakest. Unfortunately, this is because all three are equally weak. Worse still, this weekend last year saw two films earn more than $20 million, which is a mark no film this weekend will match. On the other hand, those were the only two films to crack $10 million, while there could be four, or perhaps even five films do the same this weekend. Perhaps depth will help 2011 come out with a win, but I wouldn't be willing to bet money on that.

The Help already has more than $80 million at the box office, while there is a slim, very slim, chance it will crack $100 million by the end of business on Sunday. Its strong reviews and lack of direct competition should help it earn $15 million over the weekend, pushing its running tally to $98 million, more or less. At this pace, it will become the 21st film of 2011 to reach the century mark on Monday, Tuesday at the latest.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is probably going to be the biggest hit among the three new releases. Or at the very least, it likely has the smallest chance of completely bombing. The film is directed by Troy Nixey, who is making his feature-length directorial debut, so it is hard to judge the film's potential in that regard. On the other hand, it is based on a script by Guillermo del Toro, which should help with the buzz somewhat. Meanwhile, the reviews are better than average for this time of year, but still not strong enough to reach the overall positive level. Don't be Afraid of the Dark might grab first place with $15 million, but second place with $12 million is far more likely.

Colombiana was written by Luc Besson, who is a master of this type of glossy action film. However, while he has been involved in countless such films, they are rarely more than midlevel hits. Additionally, the star, Zoe Saldana, is not yet a proven box office draw. She has been in three monster hits, but her drawing power is unproven, as she's rarely had to carry a film. Finally, the reviews are better than average for this time of year, but again not at the overall positive level. That adds up to an $11 million opening weekend, which may or may not be enough to be the best of the new releases.

Our Idiot Brother is the final new release of the week and there are more than a few analysts predicting this film will bomb. The film does have a number of big stars, but as much as people like Zooey Deschanel, for instance, she's not exactly a proven box office draw. The film's reviews are the best of the three wide releases this week and it could mean strong word-of-mouth. On the other hand, this is just the latest in a flood of R-rated comedies and since the last couple failed, I suspect this one will as well. Worse case scenario has the film opening with less than One Day did last weekend and missing the top five with just over $5 million. Best case scenario has it fighting for second place with $12 million. I'm going with just under $10 million.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes should round out the top five with $9 million, although with a little luck, it will remain above $10 million. This would lift the film's running tally to $150 million, more or less.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, One Day, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Colombiana, The Help, Our Idiot Brother