Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox) was the top banana at the box office this weekend with a take of $73 million in its debut, according to studio estimates. The movie is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, from 2011. It is the second reboot in the classic science fiction Planet of the Apes series of movies.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes raked in significantly more money at the box office, than its precursors, as Rise of the Planet of the Apes earned $54.8 million in its debut weekend, while a remake of Planet of the Apes released in 2001 took in $68.5 million domestically in its opening weekend.
The production cost of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was $170 million, so the movie has still a way to go before it even breaks even. However, its strong opening weekend shows that marketing for the movie was effective, especially as the flick has no major stars in it and not as much special effects as a movie like Transformers: Age of Extinction. Also entering into the equation is that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has been billed as a thinking man’s thriller.
According to Chris Aronson, the president of domestic distribution for Twentieth Century Fox, the company behind the distribution of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the makeup of the audience that went to see both it and Rise of the Planet of the Apes was very similar. Males over the age of 25 made up the majority of the audiences of both films.
Time will tell if more of the original audience of Rise of the Planet of the Apes just came out sooner for the sequel or if Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will continue on being successful and earn more than the final gross total of $176.8 million domestically that Rise earned. With its start of earning $73 million its debut weekend, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is certainly off to a great start with a total global take of $104.1 million.
The flick, in which Andy Serkis is once again back in the role as the intelligent ape, Caesar, takes place 10 years after everything that happened in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The sequel earned $31.1 million internationally. Serkis also played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit trilogy.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes directed by Matt Reeves, was the top banana at the box office this weekend. It is the fourth blockbuster hit that 20th Century Fox has had so far this summer. Another sequel to the series, which will also be directed by Reeves, is already in the planning stages. The other three blockbusters from the studio were The Fault in Our Stars, X-Men: Days of Future Past and How to Train Your Dragon 2, which the studio distributed for DreamWorks Animation.
After Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the movie in second place at the box office earned significantly less. It was Transformers: Age of Extinction, which stars Mark Wahlberg. It took in $16.5 million domestically, bringing its total domestic box office take to $209 million. It has performed strongly, but it has still earned less in the same number of days, 17, than the previous three Transformers movies have taken in.
Transformers: Age of Extinction has done extremely well in international markets, however. The movie has grossed an amazing $543.5 million internationally. It has broken the record in China, having earned $262.6 million there alone. According to its distributor, Paramount Pictures, in three weeks, the movie has earned $209 million domestically and global ticket sales have taken in an overall gross of $752.5 million.
The Melissa McCarthy movie, Tammy (Warner Brothers), came in at third. The flick about a fast-food employee who gets fired managed to take in just $12.9 million its second weekend out. Tammy has earned $57.4 million in two weeks.
In fourth place this weekend at the box office was the buddy cop comedy 22 Jump Street (Sony Corporation) starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. It is a sequel to 21 Jump Street and has the cop duo taking on a drug kingpin pushing his wares at a local college. It earned a sluggish $6.7 million domestically.
How to Train Your Dragon 2, in fifth place, took in a meager $5.9 million. This animated Dreamworks flick is still managing to generate box office income, though it has fallen off dramatically from its debut weekend earnings in June of $49.45 million.
Rounding out the Top Ten highest grossing movies this weekend were Earth to Echo, in sixth place, taking in $5.5 million; the horror flick, Deliver Us From Evil, in seventh place and earning $4.7 million; in eighth place was Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and earning $13.4 million; Begin Again starring Adam Levine was in ninth place earning $2.9 million; and, in 10th place at the box office was the Clint Eastwood-directed flick, Jersey Boys, which raked in a paltry $2.5 million domestically.
Despite blockbusters like this weekend’s top banana at the box office, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, overall box office earnings have fallen off 20 percent from last year’s record. Part of the reason is that this summer, there have not been as many blockbuster movies as there were last year. Still, it would have been difficult for Hollywood to have bested last summer’s record take.
By Douglas Cobb