The box office results for Labor Day weekend sees a ‘Shark Night’ and an ‘Apollo’ mission fall way short of dethroning ‘The Help’ from the top spot. The title of the other new major release, ‘The Debt’, may symbolize what studios have to deal with after a poor holiday weekend showing. Here are the 4-day studio estimates:

1. The Help ($19 million)

2. The Debt ($12.5 million)

3. Apollo 18 ($10.7 million)

4. Shark Night 3D ($10.3 million)

5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($10.2 million)

6. Colombiana ($9.4 million)

7. Our Idiot Brother ($7 million)

8. Spy Kids: All The Time In The World ($6.6 million)

9. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ($6.1 million)

10. The Smurfs ($5.6 million)

Analysis

The Help increased its overall percentages from last weekend’s take and word-of-mouth has propelled this title to one of the highlight performers of the summer box office season. And with the lackluster releases the last couple weeks, holding onto to the top spot could assist in the early award-buzz this flick is receiving.

Although Apollo 18 is a relative dud from a theatrical and critical standpoint, The Weinstein Company accomplished their mission from a financial point-of-view. This found-footage product probably only rang up a $5 million production bill, and since studios take a bigger piece of the pie from opening weekend grosses, TWC’s accountants will be using the black ink on the balance sheet.

Shark Night 3D bit off more than it can chew (cheesy line time). The $28 million critically panned flick is dead in the water. Trying to build off the critical success of last year’s Piranha 3D, this piece didn’t have the bloody ingredients to entice audiences. Unless the international totals perform similar to Piranha’s – which is why there is a sequel releasing next month – Shark Night 3D is already on Flop Alert.

Sleeper Hit: Our Idiot Brother. Simple math for the Idiot product: Up to $17 million at the domestic B.O. and it only cost $5 million to make…equals more good news for The Weinstein Company.

The Smurfs currently hold the longest streak in the top ten with 6 weeks. This has been a massive hit overseas bringing the worldwide total to just over $430 million off a $110 million budget.

The Friday has three newbies ushering in the Fall movie season. Warrior is already receiving award-buzz and will have the best chance to knock-off The Help from the top spot. Contagion and Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star will try to pick up the scraps due to the limited promotion they’ve been receiving. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.

Report by Joe Belcastro

The Help
Workin' it on Labor Day weekend

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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