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Holiday Weekend Box Office: The Help Manages Top Spot for Third Straight Weekend

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By Chris Kavan - 09/05/11 at 02:31 PM CT

You have to go back a full year to find another film that has accomplished the same feat as The Help. Inception was the last film before The Help to take 1st place three weeks in a row.

Emma Stone and co. must be very pleased with themselves right about now. The drama took in $19 million over the holiday weekend and its total gross now stands at $123.4 million. Plus, the film had staying power, dropping only a scant 2% compared to last week's performance.

In a surprising second place, The Debt beat out the two more high-profile horror films. Despite being delayed a bit, the cast, led by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Worthington and Ciarán Hinds managed to take in $12.6 million. Attracting a gender-split mostly older audience, it was good news for a film that was on the shelf for the better part of a year.

The two horror films dueled it out and Apollo 18 came out on top. The "found footage" film about the "final" Apollo moon landing wound up in third place with $10.7 million. While it might have been on the lower end of expectations, it's still pretty good for a film that only cost $5 million and has an unknown cast. Even with marketing costs it should come out on top - but its weak performance may mean the genre will take a backseat for awhile.

It turns our a sharks bite can't live up to its bark. Despite a marketing push, Shark Night 3D couldn't even match Piranha 3D's opening. It needed the extra day to pull in $10.3 million and it remains to be seen if it can beat RIse of the Planet of the Apes for the fourth-place spot. Fully 86% of the grosses for Shark Night 3D came from 3D screens but even that wasn't enough to give it much life.

Apes, meanwhile, continued to hold up well, dropping just 11%. It will take in $10.3 million as well and now stands at a hefty $162.5 million so far. It remains to be see how close to the $200 million milestone it can reach before it ends its run.

Last week's disappointing new entries dropped accordingly, with Don't Be Afraid of the Dark taking the biggest tumble (as horror films often do). With just $6.1 million, it barely managed to keep a place in the top 10, and its $17.6 million total won't make any headlines.

Next week should finally see a new #1 as Steven Soderbergh Contagion infects theaters. Warrior will also flex its muscles while Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star will try to go the comedy route.


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