‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ to Boost Summer Box Office

'Dawn of the Planet of the

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is looking to reignite a summer box office that flamed out spectacularly over the July 4th holiday.

The sequel to the well-received 2011 reboot will benefit from a lack of competition at the multiplexes en route to an opening in the $60 million range when it debuts across 3,966 locations this weekend.  Twentieth Century Fox, which is producing the $170 million picture along with Chernin Entertainment,  is being more conservative and pegging a debut in the mid to high $50 million zone.

Its predecessor, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” bowed to $54.8 million when it debuted in 2011, a figure the new film seems likely to pass. Fandango reports that “Dawn” is outpacing the earlier apes picture at a similar point in its sales cycle and is responsible for 70% of weekend pre-sales.

The apes sequel is being bolstered by superb reviews and residual good will for its predecessor. Without any other fresh wide releases to be found, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” will square off against “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which dropped sharply last weekend, falling 63% from its opening. Analysts expect it will fall more than 50% in its third weekend in theaters.

“People really liked the first movie and it had great staying power,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “It’s a soft marketplace with ‘Transformers’ slowing down faster than expected, so that works in its favor.”

The latest film finds the human survivors of a global pandemic forced into confrontation with the genetically evolved apes. The Bay Area is a casualty of the post-apocalyptic clash of the primates with San Francisco getting to the full urban decay experience.

When it came to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the studio wasn’t overly precious with what worked before, sliding Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”) into the director’s chair in place of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” filmmaker Rupert Wyatt and jettisoning much of the original cast (so long James Franco). Only Andy Serkis who motion-captured his way toward Oscar buzz playing Caesar, the apes’ leader, remains.

It worked. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” currently holds a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the kind of critical embrace that could help it appeal to adult crowds who may have been turned off by the influx of web spinners, mutant heroes and battling robots into movie theaters.

“The older audiences will keep it afloat and when you look at the release schedule, it could float all the way to August,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations.

Indeed, the rest of the summer lineup is looking scrawny. The revenge pic “Lucy” has good buzz and “Sex Tape” could recapture Cameron Diaz’s “Bad Teacher” magic, but only “Guardians of the Galaxy” sports blockbuster muscle. Even that film comes with a caveat: the band of interstellar heroes lack the brand recognition of a Captain America or Spider-Man. All told summer is down roughly 20% from last year and most analysts expect it will continue to lag behind 2013’s record-breaking numbers this weekend.

During the same period last year, “Grown Ups 2” and “Pacific Rim” bowed in theaters and “Despicable Me 2” continued to draw crowds, driving the Stateside box office to nearly $200 million in stateside ticket receipts.

There are also a handful of  limited releases hitting theaters this weekend, most notably IFC’s “Boyhood.” The Richard Linklater film has earned critical raves and traces the development of a young man over 12 years, proving that good things happen to those directors who wait a really long time.  It opens in five screens in New York and Los Angeles.


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  1. LOL says:

    America loves monkeys.

  2. Sam E. says:

    The first one made 54-mil three years ago without 3d. Given that both films are well liked, the amount of publicity around the movie and the relative reputation of the franchise after the Burton film vs. now a 60-mil opening would feel like a disappointment.

  3. Richard Thomas says:

    I’m sure this “film” will be a hit in places like Texas and Idaho.
    Just like the first series was with it’s subliminal message to insecure white men. The only dif between then and now is black men AND white men have been dumb downed so much that now the sub message won’t make to their pockets.
    Some times Hollywood forgets what it has done to the big picture when it goes to market with the small one.
    Next time contact me before you spend all that money. I’m much better than a focus group. Trust me.

    • Hey, Einstein, it’s dumbed down. If this isn’t a film, as your lame quotation marks indicate, please explain to me what it is. And please, enlighten us what the message was to us insecure white men. People love saying inflammatory things, then backing before an explanation of their pitiful statement in hopes people chase them to hear the rest of what they have to say. Well, I can’t imagine anyone wants to hear any more from you. Stop. Trust me.

      • Richard Thomas says:

        You are obviously the type that was rejected by the focus group.
        And, thanks for “chasing”.
        You are a genius!

      • Richard Thomas says:

        You didn’t huh!
        Look way way way up there.

  4. Bonzo says:

    The apes will rule!!!!

  5. sharon hodges says:

    don’t count on it

  6. brady1987 says:

    “only “Guardians of the Galaxy” sports blockbuster muscle.”

    Even if may not be very good, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ could be a box office hit. The franchise is popular and it might at least achieve the box-office success of the August 2009 release, ‘G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra’.

    • 10 million teenagers agree!?! says:

      TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES will be huge. The new trailer playing before TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is awesome. It is a real attention-getter, great one liners, funny one liners, has family appeal, fantastic Ninja Turtle action scenes, and as always with a Michael bay film, spectacular CGI. Frankly, it looks can’t miss hot!

      Meanwhile, APES and TRANSFORMERS will dominate the summer box office this weekend. Prediction for the top 3 films: Apes- $59 million, Transformers- $25.6 million, and Tommy(wink, wink), 9.4 million

      • Coming from a FAN of TMNT, I though the new trailer was a 2 minute headache, with all the abrasive club music and kinetic insanity. Just trying too hard, I thought. Just give me some voiceover, setups, and a hint of the action, not the break-neck, merciless assault on the senses that almost had me twitching and drooling by the end. I’ll definitely see it since I love TMNT, so my words are meant for the trailer house, not the filmmakers.

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