The Help, a drama about African-American housekeepers employed in the US south before the Civil Rights era, topped weekend box sales for a third straight week, reported AFP.
The adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel of pre-civil rights Mississippi has been cleaning up at the multiplex ever since its premiere and brought in an estimated $19.8 million in receipts over the long Labour Day holiday weekend, for a total to date of $124 million, according to final figures from movie data tracker Exhibitor Relations.
The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone – three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s – who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk.
The Help’s success has surprised many in Hollywood as it received mixed reviews and its subject matter – racism in the deep South in the early 1960s – isn’t the common theme for summer flicks. According to theweek.com there are five reasons why the film is doing so well. Firstly, it is a ‘good’ movie with a great storyline and while films with great plots don’t get the deserved credit, this is not the case this time. Secondly, there has been a lack of good films in the past month which have helped propel The Help’s success. Additionally, the movie has enjoyed ‘good word-of-mouth’ buzz, and according to Amy Kaufman in the Los Angeles Times, people have been talking, and are continuing to talk about the film.
Fourthly, the topic appeals to an older audience and since the under-25 set has ‘recently seemed indifferent to summer releases’ – this has allowed films targeting more mature audiences, like The Help and The Debt (which came in number two this weekend), to rule the box office. Lastly, it is not a 3D superhero movie – the surprise hits of the season have been two-dimensional films while many studios have lost heavily from betting on 3D superhero films.
WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM AFP
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2011.
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