Weekend Box Office: Monkeys Mean Business; Small Change for The Change-Up
By Chris Kavan - 08/08/11 at 09:57 AM CT
Audiences were in the mood to reboot a 10-year dormant franchise over the weekend as Rise of the Planet of the Apes came in well ahead of estimates.
Thanks to a slick marketing campaign and a talented cast, Apes dominated the weekend box office. With James Franco, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, John Lithgow, Tom Felton and mo-cap master Andy Serkis all lending their talents, Apes opened with an estimated $54 million. Considering the studio was expecting an opening in the $30-$35 million range, that's a big win.
It's even better considering the franchise hasn't been seen since Tim Burton's attempt to remake the original in 2001. While that movie may have opened bigger ($68.5 million) this new installment had much better reviews from critics and audiences alike. In terms of August debuts, it was the 5th-best on record and in terms of comparable films beat out Terminator Salvation ($42.6 million) and I, Robot ($52.2 million) and nearly matched G.I. Joe $54.7 million) and X-Men First Class ($55.1 million).
It was also an pretty even split amongst male and female audiences, as well as young and old crowds, which is a good sign that it will have legs as it has near-universal appeal.
In a surprising turn for 2nd and 3rd place, Smurfs officially surpassed Cowboys & Aliens in grosses. Smurfs dropped 41% for a second-place finish of $21 million and a $76.2 million total. It was holding better than G-Force and Hop at the same point. Meanwhile, Cowboys & Aliens dropped 57% to third with $15.7 million. It suffered the steepest drop in attendance for the week and now stands at $67.3 million. It will be lucky to cross $100 million, let alone reach the $163 million budget.
The other week's new opening, The Change-Up, couldn't match the success of other R-rated comedies. The fourth-place $13.5 million opening was on the low end of estimates and couldn't match Friends with Benefits $18.6 million opening. While the raunchy body-switch was clearly aimed at men, it skewed towards a larger older, female audience.
Rounding out the top five, Captain America: The First Avenger, continued to run right in line with Thor for best super hero of 2011. Dropping 49%, Captain America took in $13 million for a $143.2 million total. Thor is still leading the way, as it made $145.4 million in the same time frame, thought Captain still has a chance to come out on top.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 dropped 45% and for the first time, pulled ahead of Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince in terms of retaining its audience. In sixth-place, the last hurrah for Harry Potter took in $12.1 million for a $342.8 million total. It should surpass Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for top-grossing film of 2011 in the next few days.
The majority of the remainder of the top 10 were R-rated comedy holdovers - both Crazy, Stupid, Love and Horrible Bosses had the best retention, dropping only 36.7% and 35.7% respectively. In its second week, the 7th-place Crazy, Stupid, Love took in $12.1 million for a $42.1 million total while in its 5th week, 9th-place Horrible Bosses took in $4.6 million to breach the $100 million mark with a $105.1 million total.
Summer is winding down, so next week The Help looks to inject a little drama into the mix, while Jesse Eisenberg teams up with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer once again for 30 Minutes or Less. Finally, the franchise giving Saw a run for its money for most unnecessary sequels, Final Destination 5 will find new and inventive ways to kill pretty people.