Emma Stone, The Help


Cameron Diaz made Bad Teacher a $200 million hit. Kristen Wiig broke big with Bridesmaids. Jennifer Aniston helped Horrible Bosses to a nice run.  

But only one actress went to No. 1 this summer—and she went there twice: Emma Stone

Stone's The Help took advantage of its good buzz and weak competition to score a second-straight win at the weekend box office. Disney expects the Civil Rights-era drama to break $100 million domestically by the middle of the week.

Of all the summer hits, The Help is the only No. 1 that was led by a female star. It's also the only No. 1 to go No. 1 after opening No. 2.

Overall, the box office was wrecked by Hurricane Irene. Ticket sales were down a whopping 23 percent from last weekend. One studio exec told us the East Coast-ravaging Irene was a "pretty significant" factor.

As an apparent result, neither the Katie Holmes-led horror remake Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, nor the Paul Rudd indie comedy Our Idiot Brother did much in their debuts.

"Many theaters closed or were dead even if they remained open," another exec, Bob Berney, distribution president for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark's FilmDistrict, said in a statement.

On the upside, Zoe Saldana's Colombiana, the weekend's other major new release, came closer than expected to unseating The Help (and becoming the second actress-led No. 1 movie of the summer).

Anne Hathaway's One Day dropped from the Top 10 after a stay of just one weekend. So far, the reputedly $15 million movie has grossed $9.4 million domestically. 

30 Minutes or Less ($31.7 million overall domestically) and Final Destination 5 ($37.8 million overall domestically) also fell from the standings, after stays of two weekends each.  

Here's the complete rundown of the weekend's top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. The Help, $14.3 million
  2. Colombiana, $10.3 million
  3. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, $8.7 million
  4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $8.65 million
  5. Our Idiot Brother, $6.6 million
  6. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, $5.7 million
  7. The Smurfs, $4.8 million
  8. Conan the Barbarian, $3.1 million
  9. Fright Night, $3 million
  10. Crazy, Stupid, Love, $2.9 million
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