Despite the controversy — or maybe because of it — DreamWorks' Pictures The Help has scored another winning weekend at the box office. The chick-flick beat the odds again by racking up $5.8 million in ticket sales on Friday, taking the competition out like yesterday's garbage. Big-budget, male-oriented Conan the Barbarian made a puny $3.7 million, and the newest installment of the Spy Kids franchise brought in only a respectable, but by no means impressive, $4 million.
So how is The Help able to help itself to the lion's share of the box office again and again? Analysts say a combination of positive critical reviews (particularly for supporting actress Viola Davis), the brand awareness of the best-selling novel it's based on and competition slimmer than Emma Stone's waistline have given it a boost. While the film's August release date was initially met with skepticism (the hottest month is usually also a studio dumping ground for the worst films of the year), the move is proving to be a genius one by DreamWorks. With good buzz and hardly any competition, The Help has raked in $47.8 million since it opened, becoming the first true sleeper hit of the year and increasing Davis's chances of bagging her second Oscar nomination.
That should give haters something to talk about.