It's true! Lady movies are officially the go-to fare for the final summer month. Though, don't discount apes. Don't discount them ever, we've learned this summer. We've also learned that America only has room for one Conan.
1) The Help — $20.4
Look at this movie go! Two weeks out of the gate, and it's already raked in $70 million. The Help continues in the tradition of Eat Pray Love and Julie & Julia before it, in that it's a women-focused movie that's released in August and earns good, solid monies. It's a new tradition! Poor women suffer all summer through stuff that they don't understand — how could a gal comprehend all the serious science of a movie like Transformers or the intricate mythology of the Avengers series? No, no, mercy no. The poor little ladies are just dragged along and are forced to nod their little bird heads and cuddle up to their boyfriends. If they're lucky they've got a good fella who will explain what everything means to her later. So really they deserve a movie at the end of the summer, something that's pretty and bright and simple that they can get, you know something about cooking or cleaning or whatnot, as these movies are. It just makes sense. So whoever said Hollywood doesn't care much about women? They get at least one movie a year! And movies cost a lot to make. More than a pair of your fancy shoes too, girls!
2) Rise of the Planet of the Apes — $16.3M
This, to me, is the surprise hit of the summer. ($133 million and counting on a $90 million budget.) Who knew! I just assumed it would be kind of a sad disaster, a dim hope that people still cared about this franchise dashed upon the rocks of August. But nope, people do in fact still care. I don't get why they care, it feels like they shouldn't still care, and yet they do still care. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is basically the According to Jim of movies. Only with fewer apes.
3) Spy Kids: All the Time in the World — $12 million
This was the first of several disappointing new releases this weekend. This one didn't do terribly well mostly because, well, probably because it's like the millionth in the series and it doesn't star Antonio Banderas and Carla Cugino, plus that whole "Aroma-Scope" smell-o-vision thing sounded so gross I wouldn't even want to go to a movie theater where this movie is playing lest I walk by one of the smell-o-vision cards and get a whiff of its gross, gross smells. What was anyone thinking with that, I do not know. Plus the plot was silly, about Jeremy Piven giving everyone mercury poisoning or something. I mean, I guess it did fine. It cost less than $30 million to make, so it will probably recoup. But previous Spy Kids movies have done better. I fear the Spy Kids may finally have gotten past their prime. They're now Spy Adolescents or Spy Bloated College Sophomores. And who really wants to watch that?
4) Conan the Barbarian — $10M
Yipes! Not a good debut for a $90 million movie. They were thinking this could be the top performer this weekend, but I guess the market for Conan adventures is not as bullish as people expected. If only they'd marketed this movie as more of a ladies movie, you know some sort of romance novel tale of a lusty young conqueror and the beautiful slave girl who tames him, it could have done better. I mean, like we said, August is ladies' movie month. They should have thrown a One Republic song in the trailer and they would have been in business. "Conan, what is best in life?" "What is best in life is the way the slave girl Nyra get cold when it seventy-one degrees out. That it take slave girl hour and half to order sandwich. Slave girl complete Conan. Slave girl had Conan at 'Please god don't rape me.' Conan just barbarian, standing in front of slave girl, asking slave girl to love him." You know, that kind of thing! It coulda been great.
6) Fright Night — $7.9M
I'm a little concerned that this means we won't get to see Colin Farrell playing more sexy vampires. I have to be honest, I'm a little concerned about that.
9) One Day — $5M
Then again, maybe a One Republic song in the trailer doesn't always work. I'd like to say that I feel bad for this movie that it didn't perform better, but I just... I just kind of don't. Y'know? I'm sorry, I know it's needlessly cruel, but I just don't feel too terribly that the Bad British Accent was mostly rejected by American movie audiences. Also, let's talk about the ending. Let's give away the big spoiler, shall we? The big spoiler is that at the end of the movie, Anne Hathaway's character reveals herself to secretly be an American spy who is not very good at her spying job because listen to that terrible accent, so Jim Sturgess cries and Anne Hathaway goes back to America and is put in jail for being a bad spy and she just sits there for the rest of her life, in jail. It's actually kind of a great ending.