The Help scored the top spot during a weekend that wound up as the movie box office's second-slowest of the year because of Hurricane Irene.
The drama starring Emma Stone managed to bring in $14.3 million, down from last weekend's $20.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo, which noted that only Super Bowl weekend was slower overall. The film's three-week gross totals $96.6 million.
Colombiana, an action flick starring Zoe Saldana, came in No. 2 in its debut weekend with $10.3 million. Following was the newcomer Don't Be Afraid of the Dark with $8.7 million.
The Help, Rise of the Planet of the Apes beat four new films
Rise of the Planet of the Apes fell to the No. 4 spot with $8.65 million, bringing the film's total to $148.5 million.
Taking the No. 5 spot with $6.6 million was Paul Rudd's new comedy Our Idiot Brother.
Rounding out the top 10: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (No. 6, $5.7 million); The Smurfs (No. 7, $4.8 million, for a cumulative take of $126 million); Conan the Barbarian (No. 8, $3.1 million); Fright Night (No. 9, $3 million) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (No. 10, $2.9 million).