The Civil Rights Era drama has reached $123.4m after the four-day holiday weekend as the summer season reached an estimated $4.4bn-$4.5bn.

A higher average ticket price of $8.06 compensated for the fact that this summer’s 558,312,655 admissions tally was the third lowest since 1997, according to

Focus Features spy drama The Debt, which premiered in Toronto almost a year ago and stars Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain, was the best of the new arrivals on $12.6m, followed by The Weinstein Company’s found footage space horror Apollo 18 on $10.7m.

Action tale Shark Night 3D opened in fourth place through Relativity on $10.3m.

In fifth place Fox’s Rise of The Planet Of The Apes, considered by many to be the classiest wide studio release of the summer, consolidated its hit status as it crossed $162.5m in the fifth weekend.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2ranks 12th and stands at $375.5m after eight sessions, Focus Features’ One Day in 18th place is on $12.5m after three and SPC’s Midnight In Paris stands at $5297m after 16 weeks.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Steven Soderbergh’s Venice world premiere Contagion through Warner Bros starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law; Lionsgate’s family drama-cum-MMA spectacle Warrior starring Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte; and Columbia’s comedy Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star with Nick Swardson, Stephen Dorff and Christina Ricci.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 2-5 (Sept 2-4 in brackets), 2011
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (1) The Help (Disney/DreamWorks) WDSMPI $19m $123.4m ($14.2m, $118.6m)

2 (-) The Debt (Focus Features) UIP $12.6m $14.5m ($9.7m, $11.6m)

3 (-) Apollo 18 (TWC) TWC $10.7m – ($8.7m –)

4 (-) Shark Night 3D (Relativity) Sierra/Affinity $10.3m – ($8.6m –)

5 (3) Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Fox Int’l $10.3m $162.5m ($7.8m, $160m)

6 (2) Colombiana (TriStar) EuropaCorp $9.4m $23.9m ($7.4m, $21.9m)

7 (5) Our Idiot Brother (TWC) UTA/TWC $7m $17.3m ($5.2m, $15.4m)

8 (6) Spy Kids: All The Time In The World (TWC/Dimension) TWC $6.6m $31m ($4.6m, $29m)

9 (4) Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (FilmDistrict) Pathe International $6.1m $17.6m ($4.9m, $16.4m)

10 (7) The Smurfs (Sony) SPRI $5.6m $133.6m ($4m, $131.9m)