Box Office Preview: ‘The Help’ sweeps in on ‘Apes’

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? After its surprisingly strong opening, Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has remained robust in the midweek domestic box office race and should earn more than $25 million during its second weekend on the loose.

But the gals from Disney’s debuting “The Help” are moving in fast following an impressive $5.5 million opening on Wednesday and some pretty powerful buzz. By Sunday night, and with lots of help from adoring fans, a weekend total of near $25 million is possible, with more than $30 million likely for its first five days.

Based on the best-selling book about racial inequality in the 1960s’ South, “The Help” boasts an impressive ensemble cast and overwhelmingly positive reviews that should guarantee long-term box office success and much attention come awards season.

The debuting “Final Destination 5” from Warner Bros. once again gives audiences the vicarious thrill of watching other human beings dispatched in the most creative ways imaginable. This low-budget horror franchise has consistently killed it at the box office, with 2009’s previous installment taking in $27.4 million on its first weekend and this latest release expected to end up at No. 3 in the low $20 millions.

Sony’s newcomer “30 Minutes or Less” is the seventh R-rated comedy to be released this summer and stars “The Social Network’s” Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza delivery guy who has a bomb strapped to his chest and is forced to rob a bank. The film should open with around $13 million this weekend for a fourth-place finish.

Fox’s debuting “Glee: The 3-D Concert Movie,” featuring the cast of the hit TV show, will try to out-perform “The Smurfs” in its third weekend to the tune of around $10 million in a fracas for fifth place.

Sony Animation’s “The Smurfs” has been a family favorite since its debut and should pass the $100 million mark by Sunday. Now a box-office force to be reckoned with, Sony has announced a “Smurfs” sequel will be released on Aug. 2, 2013.


Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of and a box office analyst for The Associated Press.