Dawn of the Planet of the

It was no monkey business on Thursday, as 20th Century Fox’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” dominated the late night box office, pulling in $4.1 million, according to studio estimates.

The critically acclaimed sequel, directed by Matt Reeves, unspooled across 2,750 theaters starting at 10 p.m. and surpassed the $1.3 million that the previous film in the series brought in from its midnight shows.

It expands to 3,966 this weekend and is expected to generate roughly $60 million in ticket receipts, trumping the $54.8 million debut of its predecessor, 2011′s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

Reviews have been outstanding, with “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” receiving a sterling 94% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The picture stars Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke and follows a band of human survivors of a global pandemic struggling to reach a tenuous peace with genetically enhanced apes.

Fox produced and financed the $170 million production. Chernin Entertainment produced the picture.

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