Grady Smith
August 31, 2011 AT 08:46 PM EDT

Amidst a sea of box office underperformers (Conan the Barbarian, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, Spy Kids 4D, Fright Night, Our Idiot Brother, Colombiana) two well-reviewed August releases notched major box office milestones yesterday.

The Help passed the $100 million mark on its 21st day of release. After a sturdy $26 million opening weekend, the Kathryn Stockett adaptation, which earned an impressive “A+” CinemaScore grade, has seen subsequent weekend drops of just 23 and 27 percent, and it’s currently pulling in about $2 million per weekday. With continued strong word-of-mouth, look for The Help to finish in the $140 million range, far ahead of similar female-targeting literary adaptations like Eat Pray Love ($80.6 million) and Julie and Julia ($94.1 million). 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, meanwhile, swung past $150 million on its 26th day in theaters. The surprise smash prequel, which opened to a robust $54.8 million, has enjoyed small drops during its four weeks in theaters, and it will finish well ahead of other more heavily promoted sci-fi tentpoles like X-Men: First Class (which has currently earned $146.1 million), Green Lantern ($116 million), and Cowboys and Aliens ($94 million).

August is traditionally viewed as a dead zone at the box office, where studios’ toughest sells go to fail quietly, but the success of The Help and Rise of the Planet of the Apes suggests that audiences will see quality movies at any time of the year.

Follow Grady on Twitter: @BoxOfficeJunkie

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