'Help' overperforms for a close second

Close competish for the top spot on Friday kept Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in the lead for its second weekend in a row.

“Rise” made $8.1 million from 3,691 locations at the domestic box office last night. Close on its heels, Disney’s “The Help” scored $7.626 million from 2,534 locations and Warner Bros’ “Final Destination 5″ earned $7.34 million from 3,155.

B.O. observers anticipated holding power for the Fox prequel, as it built strong word-of-mouth last weekend (its freshman Friday-to-Saturday drop was an astounding 1%), but the pair of new openers could give “Rise” a run for its money in its soph sesh. Pic has cumed $85.48 million so far.

The Mouse’s “Help,” for example, bowed Wednesday and enters the weekend with positive critical reception and strong early buzz from African American and arthouse auds. Pic earned nearly $10 million leading into Friday, adjusting its three-day estimate from the mid-teens to the low-$20 million range.

Warner’s latest “Final Destination” installment is looking to do about the same this frame, though it will likely see a larger Friday-to-Saturday drop off than “Help” as most of the franchise’s fans probably caught the pic last night. Though roughly 89% of its screens are in 3D, and 217 are in Imax, “Destination” isn’t expected to see much of a boost from the format given waning interest in 3D. Optimistic B.O. pundits have the film topping out at $21 million through Sunday.

A pair of Sony releases rounded out Friday’s top five. New release “30 Minutes or Less” made $4.85 million from 2,888 locations, while “The Smurfs” scored $3.8 million from 3,427. “30 Minutes,” the summer’s 7th R-rated laffer after last weekend’s underperforming “The Change-Up,” is on track to land in the mid-teens through Sunday. “Smurfs” has cumed $91.8 million domestically thus far.

And this week’s wild card opener, Fox’s “Glee the 3D Concert Movie,” came in sixth with $2.725 million from 2,040 screens, all of which are in 3D. Fox and rival studios expect the release to land in the high-single digits for the weekend.

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