Just when you thought we were done talking about The Help, here comes another writeup about the film. This time, the focus is on some interesting statistics with regards to the film’s audience makeup. We get to look at and even challenge some of our perceptions of folks who’ve helped push this summer’s most racially polarizing film to its current $98.6 million box office take. The drama is well on its way to $100 million in the coming days.
These facts and figures come courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. The report makes comparisons between box office trends for The Help and The Blindside.
– On The Help’s first weekend in release, the top three grossing theaters were in Memphis, TN; Jackson, MS (the story’s setting); and Dallas, TX.
– The film’s top-grossing theater to date is the Paradiso 16 in East Memphis, TN. However, black people make up the vast majority of the population, not only in that city, but also in the second of the top 3 grossing cities – Jackson, MS. What does that tell us?
– The owner of the Paradiso 16 in East Memphis, TN says more and more men are coming to see the film. They weren’t there on opening weekend, but, for whatever reason, showed up the following weekend, the film’s 2nd week in release.
– During that second week in release, two more theaters in other cities shot to the top of the five highest grossing theaters: ArcLight in Sherman Oaks, CA, and Lincoln Square in New York, NY.
– The audience is primarily older women, regardless of race. On opening weekend, 75% of the film’s total nationwide audience comprised of women over 25 years old. Of course, as already pointed out, things evened up a bit between the genders, during the film’s second week in release.
– Finally, sales of the book the film is based on have tripled since the movie hit theaters. No real surprise there. Kathryn Stockett should be set for life after this. I’ll be looking out for The Help, the TV series soon.
We can summarize this by saying that southern states account for a sizable chunk of the film’s impressive box office take thus far. However, the audience isn’t as lily-white as some might expect. Black folks – especially older black women in southern states – are turning out in numbers to see the film. Older white women are going to support the film. Maybe somewhat of a surprise, men certainly haven’t stayed away entirely, opting to avoid opening weekend, leaving that to the women to dominate, instead checking the film out the following week.
Feel free to check out the full THR report HERE.
Tambay Obenson is editor of Shadow And Act on the indieWIRE Network at blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact