In its third weekend in theaters, Emma Stone’s The Help is expected to once again lead the weekend box office, according to early estimates. Against three new films that made their debuts this week, The Help is expected to rake in $14.5 million this weekend, 28% off from last weekend, but this underrated, favorable reviewed film has far surpassed expectations, and is expected to bring in about $97 million by the end of the weekend — $72 million more than the film itself cost ($25 million). The film actually debuted number two during the August 12-14 weekend behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes but has since been first the past two weekends.
Coming in second was Sony and Columbia’s action film Colombiana, which will bring in about $10 million this weekend in its initial weekend. The remake of the 1973 horror film, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark starring Katie Holmes, is expected to bring in $9 million. That also was the movie’s first weekend in theaters.
Coming in fourth was the third weekend of Rise of the Planet of the Apes with $8.3 million, bringing its total gross to about $148 million. Rounding out the top five was the weekend premiere of Weinstein’s Our Idiot Brother with $6.5 million.
If you think these numbers are really low for late-summer, you’re right. Early estimates show that the weekend box office is off by nearly 30% compared to the comparable weekend last year, likely due to the Hurricane Irene scare in the East Coast. At least 1,000 theater locations are expected to be closed throughout the weekend, therefore possibly hurting all the films in theaters this weekend.