Weekend Forecast: Will The Help Clean Up Final Destination 5?

Say hello to August and its snazzy genre-specific programming! The four wide releases this weekend cater to quarantined-off needs, meaning there’s something in theaters for your whole family — from mom (The Help) to stoner brother (30 Minutes or Less) to thrill-seeking sister (Final Destination 5) to kid cousin (Glee: The 3-D Concert Movie). Which film will wind up atop the box office come Sunday night? To the forecast!

· Final Destination 5: Fun fact: the last horror movie to hit theaters in wide release was Scream 4 back in April. Before that, it was Insidious — also in April. Which is another way of saying that unless you count Priest — you shouldn’t — horror fans have had precious little to see in theaters during the last four months. It’s because of that likely pent-up horror demand — plus 3-D surcharges — that Final Destination 5 could greatly exceed expectations over the next three days. Keep in mind, The Final Destination grossed $27.4 million during its opening frame in 2009, and that film was up against Halloween II — which siphoned off another $16 million of horror dough. The only other horror flick in theaters this weekend is Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. Even death can’t stop the Final Destination franchise. FORECAST: $31.9 million

· The Help: August wouldn’t be August without a highly anticipated lady lit adaptation. On Aug. 7, 2009, Julie & Julia headed to theaters and added $20 million to its butter-soaked coffers; on Aug. 13, 2010, Julia Roberts grabbed $23 million in gelato money from Eat Pray Love. This weekend, The Help arrives, poised to succeed — clean up, if you will — in similar fashion. Since opening on Wednesday, the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel has earned $5 million — though its bread-and-butter audience is unlikely to rush out for midnight showings (think: your mother). With strong reviews — something that helps when courting older audiences — plus already growing Oscar buzz, The Help could flirt with the $27 million that The Devil Wears Prada earned over its opening weekend in June of 2008. FORECAST: $26.9 million

· 30 Minutes or Less: The Change-Up notwithstanding, this has been the summer of successful R-rated comedies. Into this barrage of money-earning f-bombs comes 30 Minutes Or Less, with slight box office expectations and somewhat little buzz (unless that buzz is about how the film was based on the real-life death of pizza delivery man Brian Wells). Actual question: Shouldn’t more people be excited for the reunion of Zombieland cohorts Jesse Eisenberg and director Ruben Fleischer? Alas! Comedy nerds will be out in full force, but is that enough to keep it from earning a relatively low number — at least compared to Bridesmaids, Horrible Bosses and Bad Teacher? The guess here is no. FORECAST: $12.9

· Glee: The 3D Concert Movie: As the great — and apparently absent — Sue Sylvester said of Glee: The 3D Concert Movie: Stop believing. Even hardcore fans were disappointed in the second season of the Fox hit (which saw its ratings dwindle slightly in the spring), and the recent Ryan Murphy Scorched Earth press tour did nothing to engender goodwill to non-devotees. This one is preaching solely to the choir, and when it comes to box office that isn’t a good thing. FORECAST: $8 million

If you’re in the mood for critical acclaim, there’s Senna, Asif Kapadia’s documentary about Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, which opens in New York and Los Angeles. If you’re in the mood for love (and smut), though, buy a plane ticket to Austin or San Francisco. That’s where China Lion Film Distribution, Inc. will unveil 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, “the world’s first erotic 3D film.” Suck it, Avatar!

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