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'The Help'FROM MTV MOVIES: Librarians, booksellers and English teachers, rejoice: Moviegoers overwhelmingly chose "The Help," adapted from the best-selling novel, over all of the remakes, sequels and reboots in theaters this past weekend.

"The Help" dropped just 21 percent in its second weekend of release, taking in $20.5 million (for a 12-day $71.8 million total) to become the #1 movie in America, according to studio estimates. The heavily promoted "Fright Night" remake, the "Conan" reboot and the latest "Spy Kids" all flopped.

Last week's #1 movie, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," was in second place this week with $16.3 million. The well-reviewed sci-fi film's $133.8 million total put it past where Tim Burton's critically maligned "Planet of the Apes" remake was during a similar spot in its 2001 theatrical run.

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Rise of the Planet of the ApesFROM MTV MOVIES: Not only did the apes begin to conquer the human world onscreen, but they managed to retain their top spot at the box office as well. Despite competition from four diverse new movies, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" remained the #1 movie in America over the weekend.

The sci-fi prequel took in another $27.5 million during its second weekend of release for a $104.8 million total, according to studio estimates. Starring James Franco, "Rise" is a descendent of 1968's original "Planet of the Apes" which was itself based on Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel of the same name.

Whereas "Apes" was written in the '60s but set in a distant future, "The Help" was written just a couple of years ago but is set in the '60s. The movie adaptation of the hit book about a Southern belle who collects the stories of several African-American maids opened at #2 with $25.5 million, which was much stronger than observers predicted. Perhaps they should have known better: The book, by Kathryn Stockett, was legendarily turned down by some 60 literary agents before becoming a best-seller.

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Proving that not even the threat of global economic collapse can keep people away from giant robot fights, worldwide box office receipts for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” have now surpassed $1 billion. No doubt aided by the additional money brought in by 3D ticket sales, the third Michael Bay “Transformers” movie has grossed $338 million in the United States and a whopping $663 million internationally.

While “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is the first Paramount Pictures film to ever break the $1 billion mark, it’s the tenth movie to do so in history, which also earns it a spot in the highest-grossing films of all time. The list, in order, goes: “Avatar,” “Titanic,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “Toy Story 3,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” “The Dark Knight,” and finally, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which edged out “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” for its place.

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SmurfsFROM MTV MOVIES: Industry watchers predicted that "Cowboys & Aliens" would easily top the box office over the weekend. But not so fast, partners! It wasn't little green men who fought hardest against the cowboys played by Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford's, but rather little blue woodland creatures.

"The Smurfs" finished neck-and-neck with the Jon Favreau directed sci-fi Western with an estimated $36.2 million opening per movie at press time, tying the flicks at #1 for their respective debuts. "Captain America: The First Avenger" settled for #3 in its second weekend of release with $24.9 million. Its 10-day $116.8 million total is less than Marvel's "Thor" had earned in the same period but still a better second-week performance than "Green Lantern."

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide and was #4 at the domestic box office with $24.9 million for a $318.4 million North American total.

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Chris EvansFROM MTV MOVIES: Captain America has beaten back the Red Skull, HYRDA, Nazis and various nefarious forces before, and now the shield-slinging star-spangled hero has conquered the box office, as well.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" debuted with an estimated $65.8 million over the weekend to become the #1 movie in North America, according to studio estimates. With Chris Evans in the title role and Hugo Weaving as his arch-nemesis, the Red Skull, the Marvel movie was the latest chapter in a series of films that began with "Iron Man" and will lead up to next year's "The Avengers."

Cap's debut bested that of his fellow Avenger "Thor" (which opened with $65.7 million) as well as the debuts of previous 2011 superhero movies "Green Lantern" and "X-Men: First Class." Only 40 percent of the Cap audience chose to see it in 3-D versus the 60 percent who saw "Thor" that way back in May.

Meanwhile the latest "Harry Potter" — which broke several records on its opening weekend — suffered a huge decline during its second weekend of release. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" took in $48 million (for a $274.1 million total), which was a 72 percent second-weekend fall, much steeper than that of "The Dark Knight," "Spider-Man 3" and the third "Pirates of the Caribbean."

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Harry PotterFROM MTV MOVIES: There was little doubt that when the "Harry Potter" franchise finally came to a close after a decade-long presence at the multiplex, it would do so in epically lucrative fashion. But only when "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" actually began lighting up screens last Thursday at midnight did the true extent of its box-office power become clear: The film raked in a record $43.5 million at those early screenings and ended up shattering the three-day opening record of "The Dark Knight."

"While I assumed it would have the best 'Harry Potter' debut of all time, I wasn't quite sold on the fact that it could eclipse the 'Dark Knight' record, as none of the previous films, although highly successful, have ever approached that staggering number, despite having one of the most rabid fanbases filmdom has ever seen," said Jeff Bock, box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "This was monumental, as it seems everyone wanted to be a part of the discussion, everyone wanted to say goodbye to dear friends, and everyone wanted to experience the magic on the big screen one more time."

But not everyone wanted that magical experience in 3-D. While "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" benefited from the largest 3-D launch ever, according to Box Office Mojo, a majority of ticket buyers choose 2-D screenings, with just 43 percent of its total gross coming from 3-D screenings ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon," by comparison, earned 60 percent of its opening gross from 3-D showings). So, although "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" opening marks the second-biggest 3-D opening after "Alice in Wonderland," the last "Potter" film wasn't a 3-D must-see — it was a pop-culture must-see.

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Harry PotterFROM MTV MOVIES: With the swift decisiveness of a magic wand, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" vanquished several box-office records over the weekend. The final and best-reviewed entry in the Potter franchise now holds the record for biggest first day and biggest opening weekend (both domestically and across the world) and helped push the franchise past the $2 billion mark.

The eighth "Harry Potter" movie took in $92.1 million in North America on Friday and went on to earn a weekend total of $168.5 million, according to studio estimates. The new "Potter" film's box-office gross topped those of previous record holders like "The Dark Knight" and "Spider-Man 3," although it trailed them in attendance. "Deathly Hallows Part 2" ranked sixth overall when it comes to number of tickets sold.

Over 3100 locations offered the film in 3-D (the largest 3-D rollout ever) but only 43 percent of audiences chose to see the film that way, offering another example of moviegoers' 3-D fatigue.

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TransformersFROM MTV MOVIES: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" fended off competition from both an R-rated comedy and a family-friendly film as the third entry in the giant robot franchise maintained the #1 position at the box office with an estimated $47 million during its second weekend in theaters.

"Transformers" passed "The Hangover II" to become the highest-grossing film of 2011 thus far with its 12-day domestic haul of $261 million and crossed the half-billion dollar mark worldwide.

"Horrible Bosses" wasn't able to dethrone Michael Bay's CGI heavy explosion-fest but it does bear the distinction of being the only film in the top five with mostly favorable reviews from critics. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day star in the black comedy, which opened at #2 with $28.1 million.

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TransformersAmidst fireworks, barbeques, and a whole lot of celebrating America, it looks like a heck of a lot of you made it out to your nearest theater this Fourth of July weekend and watched "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." The final weekend box office tally is $97.5 million, not counting its full total since opening last Tuesday. That's a hefty chunk of change, as is the trend with the "Transformers" franchise.

It also got us thinking... what else could your "Transformers"-loving heart buy with that kind of cash? With the help of our highly capable research and analysis department (aka our rusty math skills), we've unearthed a whole bunch of merchandise in disguise that you wouldn't even dream of buying unless you had, say, an extra $97.5 million to blow.

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TransformersFROM MTV MOVIES: There's no hiding the success of the "robots in disguise" franchise: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" enjoyed the highest-grossing Fourth of July film debut ever over the weekend. Summer sequel mania was in full swing over the Independence Day holiday as the latest "Transformers" movie took in an estimated $97.5 million. "Transformers" beat the 2011 opening-weekend record previously set by "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," which just crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide.

Director Michael Bay's third installment in the "Transformers" series took in more than $180 million during its six-day opening, which started with Tuesday night previews. While it beat the Independence Day record held by "Spider-Man 2" thanks to inflation and 3-D screenings, it fell short of the superhero sequel in terms of overall attendance and far behind the last "Transformers" opening as well. Only 38 percent of major critics found the film favorable, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

Last weekend's big sequel, "Cars 2," suffered from the largest second-week drop in Pixar's history. The talking-car-centered animated kid flick fell 60 percent to #2 with an estimated $26.2 million, with an 11-day total of $123 million. Cameron Diaz's "Bad Teacher" was #3 on the box-office chart with $14.5 million for an 11-day total of $59.9 million.

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