Librarians, booksellers and English teachers, rejoice: Moviegoers overwhelmingly chose "The Help," adapted from the best-selling novel, over all of the remakes, sequels and reboots in theaters this past weekend.
"The Help" dropped just 21 percent in its second weekend of release, taking in $20.5 million (for a 12-day $71.8 million total) to become the #1 movie in America, according to studio estimates. The heavily promoted "Fright Night" remake, the "Conan" reboot and the latest "Spy Kids" all flopped.
Last week's #1 movie, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," was in second place this week with $16.3 million. The well-reviewed sci-fi film's $133.8 million total put it past where Tim Burton's critically maligned "Planet of the Apes" remake was during a similar spot in its 2001 theatrical run.
The scratch-and-sniff cards given out at screenings as part of the "aromascope" experience did nothing to take the stink off of "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World," which debuted with a franchise low of $12 million. Only 23 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes enjoyed filmmaker Robert Rodriguez's latest, in which he cast his "Sin City" and "Machete" veteran Jessica Alba as a "spy mom."
It's been eight years since the last "Spy Kids" movie and nearly 30 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke of the lamentation of his enemies' women in the original "Conan the Barbarian." Newcomer Jason Momoa's franchise reboot (Conan originated with fantasy writer Robert E. Howard in 1932) mustered only $10 million in its debut. The 1982 "Conan" enjoyed three times the attendance when it opened.
Another flick with an '80s nostalgia bent, "Fright Night," suffered the worst opening of the weekend's new wide releases. The remake of the tongue-in-cheek "Rear Window"-like vampire flick opened at #6 with just $7.9 million, putting it behind "The Smurfs," which took in $8 million for a $117.7 million total.
The Anne Hathaway romance flick "One Day" was also new in theaters this week. Although it's playing on just 1,719 screens ("Apes," by comparison, is on 3,471), its $5.1 million opening was still low by most industry expectations.
Next weekend's new releases include the horror flick "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," which was co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, and the Paul Rudd comedy "Our Idiot Brother."
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