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THE HELP tops weekend box office over THE DEBT. APOLLO 18 outdoes SHARK NIGHT for third

 Comment on THE HELP tops weekend box office over THE DEBT. APOLLO 18 outdoes SHARK NIGHT for third

the helpNew openers failed to impress for the most part as DreamWorks Pictures' The Help topped the box office for its third weekend in a row, grossing an estimated $14.2 million from 2,843 venues.

The Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard drama looks to an estimated 4 day Labor Day Weekend of $18 million, bringing its total domestic box office take to over $122.3 million. Since debuting in second place, on August 10th, the Tate Taylor film has drawn strong reviews from critics and viewers, and pulled forward to maintain its top rank thanks to healthy word of mouth in general.

Weekend Box Office Daily Breakdown for The Help:

- Friday box office take: $3.63 million.
- Saturday box office take: $5.37 million
- Estimated Sunday box office gross: $5.20 million
- Estimated Monday box office numbers: $3.79 million

Second place Focus Features release The Debt opened on Wednesday and stayed on well over the weekend. Pic starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds, was anything but disgraced with its debut in 1,826 theaters, making $9.67 million.

In third spot, Weinstein Co's Apollo 18 docu-styled horror made $8.7 million, edging in front of Relativity Media's Shark Night 3D movie The former looks to post around $8.7 million over the four-day frame, falling victim to a better-staying Shark Night at $10.5 million over 4 days.

Rounding off the top five spots at this weekend's box office, Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes showed a small 29% change when adding another $7.4 million to its purse. Total domestic cume for the James Franco, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis and John Lithgow starrer is around $160 million while international numbers are at $160.6 million, making for a total of $320.6 million from a $93 million budget.

The top films at the same time last year were:

The American: (Opened Wednesday) - 3-Day Weekend Box Office: $13.17 million, 4-Day: $16.6 million
Machete: $11.4 million - 3-Day, $14 million over four days
Takers: $10.87 million on three days and $13.5 million over the four-day frame
The Last Exorcism: $7.34 million 3-Day box office and $8.75 4-Day.
Going the Distance: $6.88 million over the regular weekend and $8.5 million final four day.

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