The Help continued its strong start on Thursday with $4.334 million. That was enough for the DreamWorks film starring Emma Stone to remain in in first place for a second straight day. The Help outpaced Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes by an extremely slim $4,710 for the day. While The Help should fall behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes over the weekend, the film is outpacing pre-release expectations thus far with a two-day start of $9.87 million. The Help fell a modest 22 percent from Wednesday, which is a good sign for the film heading into the weekend. At its current pace, The Help could register anywhere from $17 million to $22 million over the weekend, which would put the film's five-day range at $27 million to $32 million.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes finished in a very close second with $4.329 million. The reboot of the popular sci-fi franchise fell 12 percent from Wednesday, which was a very respectable daily hold in comparison to the daily declines experienced by most other wide releases on Thursday. Rise of the Planet of the Apes exceeded expectations in a big way this week with a seven-day start of $77.38 million. The film was easily the week's top film and is the favorite to take first place over the weekend. The first week performance of Rise of the Planet of the Apes has been especially impressive when taking into account that the film was far less expensive than most of this summer's other tentpole releases.
Sony's The Smurfs held steady in third place with $2.47 million. The 3D family film fell 17 percent from Wednesday and 40 percent from last Thursday, as it has taken a bit of a hit from The Help over the past two days. The Smurfs finished in second place for the week with $32.84 million. That was down 41 percent from the film's opening week performance and places the film's two-week total at a better than expected $88.05 million. The Smurfs has a good chance of reaching the $100 million milestone by the end of Sunday.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II grossed $1.52 million to remain in fourth. In the process, Warner's blockbuster sequel topped the $350 million domestic mark. Deathly Hallows: Part II is the first film to gross at least $350 million domestically since Disney's Toy Story 3 did so last summer. Deathly Hallows: Part II finished in sixth for the week with $19.44 million.
Universal's The Change-Up rounded out its disappointing first week in theatres with a $1.15 million eighth place performance on Thursday. The R-rated comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman managed just $19.53 million in first seven days to finish in fifth for the week and didn't hold up all that well as the week went on.
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