the help emma stone Box Office: Hurricane Irene has earnings down across the boardThe millions of people being affected by Hurricane Irene this weekend is also having an effect on the weekend box office. “The Help” stayed on top of a meager Friday night (Aug. 26), despite a trio of new releases hitting theaters.

The civil rights drama starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone took in $4.4 million Friday night, which puts it on pace for a $15.5 million weekend its third week in release. Zoe Saldana‘s action movie “Columbiana” was second at $3.8 million, followed closely by the Katie Holmes horror flick “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” at $3.6 million.

Compared to last Friday, each of the top three movies is down by at least $1 million in earnings. And each is down several million compared to the box office two Fridays ago.

Third new release “Our Idiot Brother” was not fourth, but fifth, with a low $2.4 million. It was narrowly beaten out by “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” for fourth place. “Apes” took in $2.6 million.

We’ll have the full Top 10 box office when the numbers are available.