Once again, THE HELP tops the list of the top movies at the box office of this longer 4 day Labor Day weekend. With a take of $19 million vs. a $25 million budget, and a box office gross of $123,391,000 so far, this movie has proven itself to be one of the few bona fide hits of this late Summer.
At #2, THE DEBT debuted, but with just a $12.5 million gross, and a unspecified production costs. it is unclear how well it needed to perform. At #3, the highly anticipated APOLLO 18 opened with just a $10.7 million dollar take. That's likely a major disappointment based on the production costs of this film, which are also unspecified as well. At #4, the third major film to debut this weekend was SHARK NIGHT 3D, with $10.3 million. The production costs of this film are also unknown.
At #5, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES continues to be a hit and a wise investment for the producers. It earned another $10.2 million, for a total gross $162.7 million against a $93 million dollar production budget. But, at #6, COLUMBIANA has proven itself less successful, earning just $9.4 million back, with a two week total gross at $23.9 million versus a $40 million budget. That looks like a close call to earn back it's costs.
But, the math sure looks good for OUR IDIOT BROTHER. This $5 million dollar cheaply produced comedy earned another $7 million for a two week take of nearly $17.3 million for this cheapie. What a good investment this film turned out to be. The producers wisely budgeted it for slow weekend release to earn enough money to be highly profitable.
SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD grossed another $6.6 million dollars, earning a #8 spot. With a $31 million gross in three weeks, this smaller budgeted $27 million dollar film has proven marginally profitable so far. But, less successful is DON"T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. At #9, this film earned a $6.1 million dollar gross in it's second week, for a total of about $17.6 million versus a $25 million budget.
At #10, THE SMURFS continues to be a success. It earned another $5.6 million for a total of $133.5 million in it's sixth week, against a $110 million dollar budget. That's pretty reasonable.
Some of the notable box office failures of this Summer include CONAN which has grossed just $20.1 versus a $90 million budget. For three weeks out, the math looks terrible for this film. And nearly as bad, COWBOYS & ALIENS has earned a total of just $96.7 million against the huge $163 million dollar budget it cost to produce. That's not good.
Smaller failures include the poorly reviewed CARS 2, which has earned back $189.1 million against it's $200 million dollar budget. With some smaller theater action as well as second runs and DVD sales, this film might just barely break even. The same goes for FINAL DESTINATION 5, which has just barely made back it's $40 million dollar budget this weekend topping just $40.8 million. This is certainly the weakest performance of any film in this series, seriously endangering the franchise from any further sequels.
The end of Summer and the continued problems with the weak economy will certainly force some studios to rethink big and expensive projects, where a wave of smaller budget films is the most likely result.