Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Hurricane scotches sure-fire hits

For the second straight weekend, another round of new releases fell short of The Help, but they seemingly have a better excuse for failing: It’s all Hurricane Irene’s fault. Yet a closer look at the numbers reveals that The Help, now in week three, dropped just 28 percent from its previous weekend, which was a 21 percent dropoff from the week before. And while there’s no question a significant portion of the East Coast was kept out of theaters, especially on Saturday and Sunday, it’s not so significant that we could imagine Colombiana, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, or Our Idiot Brother being a hit at any other time. In fact, the studios really didn’t expect great things from any of them; if they did, they wouldn’t have shuffled them to the dumping grounds of late August. Of the three new ones, Colombiana fared best, opening in second with $10.3 million to The Help’s $14.3 million, but it was also more expensive than the other two. The Guillermo Del Toro-produced haunted house movie Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark looked like it might have sleeper potential, given the Del Toro factor and the current wave of Paranormal Activity-fueled haunted house fare, but $8.9 million for third is weak by any measure, even if the movie was produced for a frugal $25 million. The $6.6 million earned by Our Idiot Brother actually exceeds its $5 million indie budget, but it likely has an uphill climb to make up the cost of releasing it across the country.

Very little action on the limited release front, though Senna looks to be a late-summer success story, scoring a week-best $8,107 per screen average in its third week while doubling its theater count. Of the new films, both the Iranian lesbian romance Circumstance and Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut Higher Ground opened to mediocre business, scoring $6,200 and $7,600 per screen, respectively, in just a handful of theaters.


For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.