Weekend box office: One big 'oof'

August 22, 2011

Linda Holmes

(NPR/Guy Roland)
Poor Conan The Barbarian (Jason Momoa). Nobody cared about his new movie.

It's a pretty good weekend not to be a new movie. It's fine, for instance, to be The Help or Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, which finished first and second at the box office. For new films, though, these were a bruising few days.

Conan The Barbarian made a paltry $10 million — compare that to $16.5 million for Apes in its third weekend and $20.5 million for The Help in its second. So apparently, bare chests and sandals aren't a free ticket to overwhelming commercial success.

Another flopping remake: Fright Night, which grossed $8.3 million, which is, as Box Office Mojo notes, a disappointment even by the "modest standards of unromantic vampire movies."

Can we count on the new kids' movie to make things look more cheerful? We cannot. Spy Kids: All The Time In The World made $12 million, which pales in comparison to the other movies in the series.

How about love? Can love help us out? Nope. One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and her dodgy accent, made $5.1 million and finished in ninth place.

So in conclusion: The Help is working on genuine sleeper-hit status. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes looks likely to spawn Rise Of The Fall Of The Planet Of The Apes 2: The Humans Strike Back (just a guess). But this just wasn't a week when audiences were very excited about the offerings — a couple of remakes, a romantic book adaptation that looked in its own trailers to be dingy and unappealing, and a kids' movie left over from an aging franchise younger kids now don't necessarily care about.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.