2011/08/15

'Apes' hang onto top branch at box office

LOS ANGELES, August 14, 2011 (AFP) - "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" hung onto the top spot in the North American box office for a second weekend in a row, raking in $27.5 million, industry estimates showed Sunday.

Though the earnings marked a 50 percent drop from last weekend, the prequel to the 1968 film "Planet of the Apes" still brought a total of $104.9 million after 10 days, according to earnings tracker Exhibitor Relations.

In surprise second came the on-screen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's 2009 debut novel "The Help," about African American maids working for white households in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. It opened Wednesday and earned $25.5 million over the weekend, for a total take of $35.4 million so far.

"Final Destination 5," the fifth installment of the franchise, landed in third. With fans possibly tiring on the once innovative concept of teens cheating death only to have death come clawing back at them, the film sold a less-than-expected $18.4 million in tickets.

"The Smurfs" dropped from second to fourth in their third week, with a take of $13.5 million. The live-action and animated film, starring Neil Patrick Harris and featuring the voice of pop star Katy Perry as Smurfette, has so far generated an estimated $101.5 million in North American sales.

Fifth went to "30 Minutes or Less," starring Jesse Eisenberg of "The Social Network" as a pizza delivery guy kidnapped by fledgling criminals who strap a bomb to his chest and order him to rob a bank. It earned $13 million.

Hollywood action thriller "Cowboys & Aliens" starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, marked its third week in theaters with $7.6 million in ticket sales, slipping from third to sixth place.

In seventh came "Captain America: The First Avenger" with Chris Evans starring as a superhero dedicated to defending American ideals, with $7.1 million.

Dropping one spot to eighth was romantic comedy "Crazy, Stupid, Love," with a take of $6.9 million.

The eighth and last installment of the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2," took in a little under $6.9 million, landing in ninth in its fifth week after breaking multiple box office records and soaring past $1 billion in global sales.

Rounding out the top 10 was comedy date flick "The Change-Up," with $6.2 million.