By Sarah Sluis
The most view-worthy offering this week is The Help (2,534 theatres), which opened on Wednesday to $5.5 million. Based on a popular novel, The Help explores the relationships between Southern white women and their black help in the 1960s, but in a friendly, sanitized kind of way.. Slate's Dana Stevens called the movie "a Barbie Band-Aid on the still-raw wound of race relations in America," and "a feel-good movie that feels kind of icky." While in some ways the movie makes light of the country's struggles during the Civil Rights movement, it's also "classy, feel-good...eye-opening and sometimes deliciously satiric entertainment," according to critic Doris Toumarkine, who accurately pegs the period film as a "sunny drama." While a debut in the $20 millions is expected, I think this movie could be a wild card and overperform.
An entire movie composed of freak accidents (do not, repeat DO NOT fall off the acupuncture table while your entire body is pricked with needles), Final Destination 5 (3,155 theatres) gives its fans what they came for, according to critic Maitland McDonagh, who found the horror flick "technically slick, briskly paced and painless to watch, assuming you're not the sort to squirm miserably at the sight of anatomical mayhem." The previous installment opened in the mid-$20 millions, which the fifth movie is also on target to meet. It won't be long before young people start dying in Final Destination 6.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (2,040 theatres) offers a front-row seat into a concert many Gleeks probably couldn't afford. David Noh caught the performers' infectious spirit, enjoying the cast's songs which were "cannily chosen, terrifically arranged and...possess a sparkle which hardly needs the added, needless fillip of 3D." Some are estimating the movie will just earn a number in the high single digits, but the concert movie could easily exceed expectations if prognosticators misestimated the number of hard-core Gleeks.
A pizza delivery boy is strapped to a bomb and forced to rob a bank in 30 Minutes or Less (2,888 theatres). "Mayhem ensues in this entertaining, foul-mouthed ride to nowhere that most will enjoy," according to Toumarkine, especially if you're an "18 to 40-year-old, easy-to-please male with a hearty appetite for mindless raunchiness." Like most of the other releases this week, this R-rated comedy could earn in the $20 millions, as long as it doesn't underwhelm like last week's R-rated miss, The Change-Up.
On Monday, we'll see if any of the new releases were able to top the second weekend of surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and if there are any upsets in how the new releases stacked against each other.