Participant Media were celebrating a one-two punch this weekend as the company co-financed both the number one opener Contagion and ongoing hit The Help.

Steven Soderbergh’s global epidemic thriller Contagion launched at the top on an estimated $23.1m through Warner Bros and boasts an ensemble that included Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Kate Winslet.

The Help dropped to second place in its fifth weekend and stands at $137.1m, while Lionsgate’s MMA drama Warrior opened in third place on a disappointing $5.6m.

Next weekend’s wide releases are: FilmDistrict’s Drive with Ryan Gosling; Buena Vista’s The Lion King (in 3D); Screen Gems’ Straw Dogs remake with James Marsden and Kate Bosworth and TWC’s I Don’t Know How She Does it starring Sarah Jessica parker.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 9-11, 2011
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Contagion (Warner Bros) WBPI $23.1m –

2 (1) The Help (Disney/DreamWorks) WDSMPI $8.7m $137.1m

3 (-) Warrior (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $5.6m –

4 (2) The Debt (Focus Features) UIP $4.9m $21.9m

5 (6) Colombiana (TriStar) EuropaCorp $4m $29.8m

6 (5) Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Fox Int’l $3.9m $167.8m

7 (4) Shark Night 3D (Relativity) Sierra/Affinity $3.5m $14.8m

8 (3) Apollo 18 (TWC) TWC $2.9m $15m

9 (7) Our Idiot Brother (TWC) UTA/TWC $2.8m $21.4m

10 (9) Spy Kids: All The Time In The World (TWC/Dimension) TWC $2.5m $34.2m