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'The Help' doesn't need any as it takes lead at box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "The Help" continues to clean up at the box office, taking over the No. 1 spot with $20.5 million in its second weekend.

The DreamWorks Pictures film starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer in a drama about Southern black maids had debuted in second place a week earlier. "The Help" raised its domestic total to $71.8 million and bumped 20th Century Fox's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which slipped to No. 2 with $16.3 million after two weekends at the top, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" remains a solid hit, lifting its domestic total to $133.8 million.

Much as Kathryn Stockett's novel "The Help" became a best-seller through readers talking it up, the film is holding strong as audiences tell friends to go see it, said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney, which releases DreamWorks films.

While revenues often drop 50 percent or more in the second weekend for big studio films, receipts for "The Help" were down only 21 percent from opening weekend.

"It is a rare feat to see a film not open at No. 1 and then become No. 1," Hollis said.

A rush of new movies had weak openings: the Weinstein Co. family sequel "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World" at No. 3 with $12 million; Lionsgate's action remake "Conan the Barbarian" at No. 4 with $10 million; the DreamWorks-Disney horror-comedy remake "Fright Night" at No. 5 with $8.3 million; and Focus Features' literary adaptation "One Day" at No. 9 with $5.1 million.


Shift at helm of Warner

NEW YORK (AP) -- Warner Music Group Corp.'s current chief executive and its chairman will switch jobs.

Edgar Bronfman Jr., who had been serving as chief executive, was named chairman and will focus on the company's strategy and growth opportunities. Stephen Cooper, the current chairman, was elected as chief executive and will be responsible for Warner Music's day-to-day operations, the company said.

Warner Music, home to artists such as Eric Clapton, Jason Mraz and Cee Lo Green, announced the changes Friday.

Cooper will continue to serve on the company's board, Warner Music said.

Cooper also serves as a member of the supervisory board for chemical maker LyondellBasell Industries N.V. He's also an adviser at Zolfo Cooper, a financial advisory and interim management firm that he co-founded, and managing partner of the private-equity firm Cooper Investment Partners.


United upgrading fleet

CHICAGO (AP) -- United Airlines plans to invest more than $500 million to improve seating on its planes and to create the same look and feel across its fleet. United and Continental merged last year and this is just one part of the two companies' integration.

The airline will be adding flat-bed seats to first and business class cabins on long-haul aircraft, increasing overhead bin space on some jets and adding Wi-Fi to other planes.

Former Continental planes will get Economy Plus seating -- a coach section with more legroom -- and Channel 9, which allows passengers to listen to air traffic control conversations.

Beginning in March 2012, the airline will nearly double the size of the overhead bins on all 152 of the Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft flown by the old United.

In September, United will begin installing new flat-bed seats and on-demand audio and video in the premium cabins of 12 Continental 767-400s and 14 United 767-300s.


Oil spill spotted in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Community leaders in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta say a new oil spill has been seen near a Royal Dutch Shell PLC pipeline where a fire broke out earlier this week.

The oil sheen could be seen Sunday near the Okordia Rumuekepe trunkline in Bayelsa state, which is operated by Shell's Nigerian subsidiary. The same trunkline saw a fire break out Friday.

In a statement, Shell said it tried to put out the fire Friday, but they were blocked by "a community women blockade." The company said it had no information about Sunday's spill.

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