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Weekend Box Office (Sept 9-11)

Weekend Box Office (Sept 9-11)

As expected Contagion was No 1, with The Help (AKA the film they cannot kill) as No.2. But the this weekend’s two biggest surprise were, first, the dismal opening take for Warrior, a film that Lionsgate was very high on. The film got fantastic responses from preview audiences and Lionsgste screened the hell out of the movie around the country (maybe too much so) and did a ton of publicity work for it yet it failed to catch fire.

It is a really good and well-acted film, but most likely filmgoers felt that it was a film that they’ve seen too often enough. A boxing (or in Warrior’s case a mixed martial arts) movie about an underdog fighter, from a highly dysfunctional family, who overcomes adversity to rise to the top. Hey wait, didn’t I see that already in The Fighter? Well yeah you have…

The other unexpected surprise was the strong showing, in limited release, of the vertically challenged comedian Kevin Hart’s stand up comedy film Laugh at My Pain, which grossed $2 million on only 97 screens. Is he really that popular? Could have fooled me.

1) Contagion WB $23,135,000
2) The Help BV $8,691,000 Total:$137,093,000
3) Warrior LGF $5,607,000
4) The Debt Focus $4,905,000 Total: $21,993,000
5) Colombiana TriS $4,000,000 Total: $29,779,000
6) Rise of the Planet of the Apes Fox $3,875,000 Total: $167,836,000
7) Shark Night 3D Rela.$3,533,000 Total:$14,797,000
8) Apollo 18 W/Dim. $2,913,000 Total:$15,001,000
9) Our Idiot Brother Wein. $2,761,000m Total:$21,420,000
10) Spy Kids: All the Time in the World W/Dim. $2,506,000 Total:$34,227,000
11) Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark FD $2,261,000 Total:$21,095,000
12) Crazy, Stupid, Love. WB $2,180,000 Total:$78,429,000
13) Laugh at My Pain Code $2,000,000

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I hear ya, JMac. And I’m not trying to get you to change your mind. I will however say that “The Help” is a far better film than the “Blind Side”. That film was not nearly as praised and I believe its one lone Oscar nom was in the best actress category. “The Help” is going to get a lot more noms than that.


Glad you didn’t really “buy” the ticket and the film wasn’t as bad as you thought. I’m still not going to see it. I’m sure with all the talent involved with making this film it is a good, enjoyable flick – if you let certain things fly over your head instead of smack you in the face. The Blind Side was probably very good too since it was Oscar nominated. Not going to see that either esp. since guy the movie was based on felt he had to write his own book to counter against the “helplessness” theme.

At some point, the performances and quality of these types of movies needs to be downgraded according to the subject matter. It’s not enough (for me) anymore if there’s a great performance. I want more “Lean On Me” movies. I can count on one hand mainstream movies where a black man is the lead character and saves the day. Yet how many ‘white person goes to the hood and saves school’ movies came out after that? I don’t care if “The Help” even attempts to split responsibility/saviourship between a black lead character and white lead character. If white people can play the hero on their own – as they do most of the time, why the hell can’t black characters? More often than not we are the heroes in our neighborhoods- not some white upper middle class bleeding heart liberal. When the representations reach 50/50 then maybe I won’t be so adamantly against certain types of movies.


Give credit to Columbiana hanging on to the top five but it isn’t exactly kicking butt. It is just the most successful of a handful of mediocre films that have bombed despite being placed in over 2000 theaters around the country.

“Contagion” was solid. Smart, effectively directed, well-acted. It grabs you instantly but the conclusion is a bit of a slow-winder that may ultimately prove disappointing. Nonetheless that conclusion is the more realistic approach than the endings (last minute saves) that we have seen in previous films of its ilk. In fact the whole script seems rooted in realism and that is a plus from an intellectual standpoint but may be a drawback for audiences used to more sensational and apocalyptic approach. I enjoyed myself but I think it should have been longer in order to explore more of the characters, the storylines, the behind-the-scene politics as well as the breakdown in societies.

The performances are all universally good. No one stands out in giving a great performance although Kate Winslet comes the closest IMO. Since this is “Shadow and Act” I will discuss Laurence and Sanaa. Laurence was solid. He didn’t get many moments to emote; his character was a bureaucrat who mostly kept a cool head. But during a few times emotions had to come to surface for the character and Laurence did a good job at showing us a glimpse at the caring man inside. Sanaa was fine for the little part she was given (she showed up about halfway through the film). I must say that I had a bit of a hard time believing that a young woman who looks like her would be involved in a relationship with kinda of an old fossil like Larry’s character.

I was convinced to see the film in IMAX. It was my very first experience seeing a major motion picture in an IMAX theater. That shit was loud! Must admit I don’t understand why this film was made for IMAX because it didn’t have the type of visuals you would think goes along with such features, but nonetheless everything looked marvelous on such a big screen. I will definitely try it out again for the Dark Knight.

Finally got around to seeing “The Help”. I have to be honest that I was dreading going into the theater on Sunday.. Rarely have I felt such a compulsion to turn around once arriving at a ticket booth. Recent comments on an IMDB board had me questioning my decision to see the flick in the first place. I wrote before that the main reason I was seeing this movie is that I felt Viola was going to get an Academy nomination based on all the buzz. Yet despite this I was in no mood to see “The Help” yesterday. Why did I go through with it? I earned a free movie pass after purchasing my IMAX ticket for “Contagion”. So I at lease consoled myself with the knowledge that I wasn’t technically buying a ticket for “The Help”.

As my friend and I walked in I noticed there were about 20 to 30 other people at this early showing. I tried to quickly scan to see if there were any other black people in the theater besides the two of us. It sounds silly but with many black people acting as if the film was “Gone With The Wind”, I just wanted to know if other black folk were taking this BOLD step with me and my friend. Didn’t glance too long at the crowd (that would be rude) but I couldn’t spot any other Negroes. :)

So I sat in my chair waiting for this damn film to start. I was hating that I was there. I was hating that it was gonna be two and a half hours long when all the films I had looked forward to seeing (The Debt, Attack the Block, Contagion) were so much shorter. I didn’t want to talk to my friend leading up to the trailers. I didn’t even want to see any lousy trailers because it would push back when the film started. I just wanted the film to begin immediately and end even quicker so I could get out of there.



I write all of this in order for you to understand the mood I was in and to give you an idea of how good the movie had to be to overcome this. And overcome my defenses it did, for the most part. My friend and I looked at each other as the credits rolled. I could tell she liked it. I did too.

The film isn’t great and it is a bit on the manipulative side in ways I don’t care for, but it is a pretty good film overall. It was well told and finely directed. It is a crowd pleaser with a touch of class. It is destined to become a chick-flick classic ala “Steel Magnolias” but is superior to that particular film.

Of course the acting was exceptional across the board. Interesting enough as the movie was heading to its conclusion I was thinking that I agreed with the folks who claimed that Octavia Spencer may have been more impressive overall than Viola Davis. But the final scene clearly put Davis back in the driver’s seat as top dog. Both will get nominated and I’m not thinking that just because the actress categories of the Oscars typically present a weaker field. There’s the likelihood that it may end up with quite a number of nominations. On the acting front Bryce Dallas Howard is also deserving. Jessica Chastain is not that far behind although if she did get a nomination it would probably be a reward for her overall cumulative work this year. The question then becomes if the Academy will get sappy and throw Cicely Tyson a bone as an appreciation of her career. Emma Stone was alright but her character was simply a vessel to tell the story.

Many of the misgivings I had about the film were satisfactorily laid to rest. For example the white journalist’s story did not overshadow the story of the maids. While the civil rights struggle took a back seat it wasn’t entirely forgotten nor was it dismissed. The brutality of the South was watered downed but the film made it clear well enough that for at least the black population Mississippi could be hell. The story also pounded home that the maids, while caring often for the people they were working for/raising, were not happy about having to take such low-paying, underappreciated jobs. The film was at times sappy but to its credit its final scene did not give us some feel-good ending, but instead reminded us of the cruelty of that era. And I totally disagree with the complaints I have read in articles that the black men are portrayed negatively. I don’t know about the book, but in the movie itself the one cruel black male is heard (just once) never shown and even his bad deeds are far overshadowed by the wickedness of others. Plus there were a few other black men here and there who were presented in a positive light. Yes, their parts were small but so were the roles for most of the male characters. All the central characters were females.

I’m going over the word limit so I’ll get to the handful of issues I had with the film later.


Yay! The Help & Colombiana are kicking butt and taking names. Now if only Serena had won her match it would’ve been a trifecta! LOL


137 million for The Help. So happy for Davis and Spencer. They did an outstanding job in that movie and happy people are loving the film.


Columbiana’s not doing too badly.

Don’t get why Crazy Stupid Love has 78 mil total. Looked like a same old barely entertaining Steve Carrel romcom. Guess he has more pull than I thought.

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