Box Office: ‘The Help’ pushes ‘Conan’ and ‘Spy Kids 4’ aside to stay at no. 1

There were four major debuts this weekend, but it was status quo at the box office Friday as “The Help” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” battled it out for the top spot.

As it has been much of the week, “The Help” was number one with a strong $5.8 million.  Even with some critics coming out against the period picture as racially offensive, the Dreamworks drama has pulled in an impressive $57.1 million in just eight days.  Crossing the $100 million mark is a given at this point.

Dropping to second place was last weekend’s champ, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”  The Rupert Wyatt prequel found another $4.65 million for $122 million to date.  And for those playing at home, yes, “Apes” qualifies for one of the big surprise hits of the summer.

Somewhat surprising in third was “Spy Kids: All the time in the World in 4D” with $3.9 million.  If Saturday matinees are strong, the family friendly flick could find anywhere between $12-14 million for the weekend.

Fourth place went to “Conan the Barbarian” with just $3.7 million. Featuring Jason Momoa as the classic Robert E. Howard hero, the Lionsgate and Millennium Films reboot may only hit $10-12 million for the weekend.  That’s a huge disappointment considering the franchise potential and higher 3D ticket prices associated with the film.

Possibly more disheartening was the performance of DreamWorks’ “Fright Night.”  The reboot of the cult 1985 horror comedy grossed just $2.65 million and will likely finish no better than $8 million for the weekend. Ironically, the Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin picture was the best reviewed of all this weekend’s new releases.  Disney handles marketing for DreamWorks titles now, and it’s clear the current team is having big problems opening male skewing titles. 

Debuting solidly in just 1,719 theaters was the Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess romance “One Day” with $1.9 million.

Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.