Film CHUD Pred Weekend Per Total
1 The Help $14m (-.3) $14,333,000 (-28%) $5,159 $96,630,305
2 Colombiana $11m (+.7) $10,300,000 $3,940 $10,300,000
3 Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
$13.5m (+4.8) $8,689,317 $3,148 $8,689,317
4 Rise of the Planet of the Apes
$9.5m (+.8) $8,650,000 (-46%) $2,564 $148,456,277
5 Our Idiot Brother
$9m (+2.4) $6,588,000 $2,578 $6,588,000
6 Spy Kids 4 - $5,727,000 (-51%) $1,733 $21,710,049
7 The Smurfs
- $4,800,000 (-38%) $1,678 $125,993,468
8 Conan
- $3,100,000 (-69%) $1,028 $16,575,575
9 Fright Night
- $3,029,000 (-63%) $973 $14,207,551
10 Crazy, Stupid, Love
- $2,905,000 (-39%) $973 $69,529,324

Avg. CHUD Prediction Difference: +/- $1.8m

As easy as it is to imagine major damage and unfortunate death all being covered with “What could we have done? Why did those in charge sit on their hands? Did we learn nothing from…? etc…”, we’re now on the other side of the !!stor!m of !the!! East!! Co!ast’s century!!1! and even piling on the power-outage figures can’t make the numbers impressive enough to impress an apocalypse hungry twitterverse. And while there’s an eye-rolling degree of “pffft, bunch of pussies scared of a hurricane” invincibility posturing going on, there’s no doubt that the paranoia shuffle did have its negative effects on the periphery concerns such as our humble little industry, so let’s take a look…

I have a feeling some of the films in the middle of the chart may get tiny bumps in actuals, so expect an update if Sunday ended up being as hard to predict as I suspect.

Like last week, we had a triple burst of new films and none of them lit the late summer charts on fire. With Hollywood pumping out as much summer product as ever, the August exhaustion seems apparent. Take note that it is a film playing to the rural crowd and a group of people who don’t venture to the theaters as much that is keeping hold of the top spot. The Help has once again raked in a nice crop of dough, falling merely 28% from last weekend and clocking in at half a dozen new releases it’s vanquished since moving up from below Apes. Between the controversy, the book fans, and the podunk pandering the film is cleaning up with that Blind Side crowd that maybe hasn’t seen a blockbuster all summer. I can’t say how much the “once a year” audience is worth, but it’s never a bad thing financially to be the kind of movie that brings them in.

Of the three newbies, it was Colombiana that managed to break $10m and nab the number 2 spot. The first of the films that were likely affected significantly by the storm (The Help‘s business is spread as much through the un-Irene’d midwest as anywhere), it still did well for itself. I said Friday that the appeal of easy action and a sexy lady can’t be underestimated, and even with little or no buzz leading up to it, that was worth something. Good for Saldana, who seems to be slowly appreciating in value as a bankable lead actress. All things being equal (in terms of issue pandering and shallow revenge plots) I guess there are worst things to see happen then two African-American-women-led films finding simultaneous success, but I fear reading too much social progress out of that is a mistake. In terms of branding, Luc Besson’s real paychecks come from shit like Taken but this also shows he can justify the cheap-ones as well.

Hitting number 3 is the not-so-secret CHUD-connected Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, clocking in with just under $9m. FilmDistrict had a hit earlier this year with Insidious, which turned a cheap trick with a $13m opening and strong legs, and they were likely hoping for something like that here. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a similarly straightforward haunted house flick, but had far fewer elements rolling in its favor to recapture that magic. Despite Guillermo’s noble spin that horror movies and pirates both love Rrrrrrr’s, such a strong rating did this film no favors– there’s no significant crowd that will show up because of the “credibility” that rating lends a horror film, and even if there were it certainly pales in comparison to the date crowds you lose. Partner that with the studio shuffling that kept this from gracefully debuting on schedule, stars that are either box office non-entities or perhaps even bring baggage, along with two previous weeks of brand new horror flicks and you don’t have a stage set for something small and different to make a splash. All that said, the film didn’t collapse by any means, and if it sees a small rebound bump next weekend (latent storm audiences, holiday weekend) and anything like Insidious legs then it could make a respectable bundle. Unfortunately, next weekend will mark a solid month of horror releases with Apollo 18 (which may or may not tap the Paranormal Activity crowd) and Shark Night 3D (which would have needed to swap ratings with Don’t Be Afraid to be worth a shit). Naturally our fingers are crossed for it, but this was always one that was going to find its audience and gather appreciation over time.

I will note that in terms of Guillermo’s brand… he definitely needs Pacific Rim to turn some heads to make anyone regret pulling the plug on his $150m R-rated horror show. We all know, love, and believe in Del Toro’s value to genre film, but the man’s got to remind the bean-counters at this point.

The other new guy this week is Our Idiot Brother, which didn’t quite make the top 5– but who would have ever expected this film to do so? A cheap indie-style comedy, registering on the top 10 at all is about all that was necessary to justify the Weinstein’s approach, and it’s not unfair to say this one may have taken the greatest hit from Irene by losing NY ticket buyers. This will make enough to give the ‘steins some operating cash and they’ll all move on with their days.

As you might have expected, both Fright Night and Conan suffered pretty hideous falls, with Conan nearly collapsing by 70%, and the Farrell vehicle not far behind it. A $20m or less finish is much less of a disaster for Fright Night than for the $90m-budgeted Conan, but both of them make 30 Minutes or Less crossing $30m outside of the Top 10 seem like a much happier ending than it otherwise might.

Also outside of the top 10? Potter crossing $370 on it’s way to a nice even $375 total by the time the year’s totals start being lauded, while Captain America crawls its way past $170 (nice and even, but it’s too far from Wolverine or Thor to cross any more lines on the Avengers or Marvel all-time rankings).

Things are getting quieter for a while, but there’s a metric shit-ton of cool stuff on its way throughout the rest of the year. If you’re extra curious how the fall’s lookin’, then I would encourage you to keep your eye on the front page in the next couple of days…

Twitter, comments, boards — always love hearing from some sexy readers…

The thread in which you talk about this stuff.