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The Grosses: America Went Outside This Weekend

The Projector

Top Five (Full list)
1. "The Help" $19,000,000 ($123,391,000)
2. "The Debt" $12,551,000 ($14,453,000)
3. "Apollo 18" $10,700,000 ($10,700,000)
4. "Shark Night 3-D" $10,300,000 ($10,300,000)
5. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" $10,250,000 ($162,475,000)

First Place.
For the first time in 2011, the same movie has been No. 1 at the box office for three consecutive weekends. As everyone would have obviously predicted at the beginning of the year, it's "The Help." The movie everyone in your family can agree on became the first movie to rule for three straight weekends since "Inception" last year. In a not entirely unrelated development, it's now a favorite to receive a Best Picture nomination, just like "Inception."

YOU FLOPPED. Let's go through the list of flops we've had in just the last three weeks: "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World," "Conan the Barbarian," "One Day," "Fright Night," "Colombiana," "Our Idiot Brother," "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" and now "Shark Night 3-D" and "Apollo 18." At least those last two saw it coming. "The Help," man, it's a widowmaker!

Impressive Bridesmaid. So here's a pleasant little surprise. Despite playing on fewer screens and having been out two fewer days than the other "new" releases this weekend, "The Debt" ended up in second place. The movie isn't bad at all, even if it turns artless at the end. As long as credit is given to Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain, and not Sam Worthington, we're cool with it. Also: Chastain's in the top two movies of the week. We love that lady.

Tiny Dancer. "Seven Days In Utopia" tried the previously unexplored marketing strategy of "selling only to golfers," and it didn't work: It had a lower per-screen average in "limited" release than "Crazy, Stupid, Love." did, and that movie has been out for more than a month. "Saving Private Perez" beat "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy," so the days of Jason Sudeikis, Leading Man, are surely over before they began.

Next Week's Contestants. Who's going to end "The Help"'s reign at Number One? Will it be "Warrior," which preview audiences have been loving? Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion," which critics are loving even more? As long as it beats "Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star," we're cool.