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New in Theaters July 11: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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By Chris Kavan - 07/10/14 at 06:40 AM CT

The July 4th holiday weekend didn't provide many fireworks for Hollywood. In fact, you had to fall back to before the Millennium to find a weaker July 4th on record. Even though Transformers: Age of Extinction had a monster opening, it had a big fall - and though it became the first summer movie to repeat as the #1 movie, it's second-week fall was massive. It is looking like this summer is not just going to fall well short of 2013 - but it could be one of the weakest summer movie seasons in a decade. But before we can write off the summer, there are at least a few more contenders that could, if not turn things around, as least put up a good fight. And this week should bring one of the main contenders.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES After the disaster that was Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, I was very skeptical about another reboot. But instead of setting the film in the future, Rise of the Planet of the Apes brought us to the origin of how this ape uprising started. The film was a success - a lot of it due to the maestro of mo-cap, Andy Serkis, who transformed Caesar into a character who was just as compelling as the flesh-and-blood actors around him. With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we jump forward ten years. A simian flu (shown spreading across the globe at the end of the last film) has decimated the population. Human survivors live in their communities while the ever-evolving apes have formed their own colony. A fragile peace is made between the two species, but if you've seen any of the previews - you know that peace isn't going to last too long. Thus we have the showdown between man and ape - one that will decide the fate of evolution and who is going to wind up the dominate species. For those who have seen the original Planet of the Apes (and the many, many sequels) I guess we kind of already know how this turns out. However, knowing does not in any way make me want to skip this one. Serkis returns and we have a new group of humans to follow: Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman and (from one of my current favorite shows, The Americans) Keri Russell - amongst others. Now, while I doubt Apes will be able to top the opening of Transformers, it has a good shot of at least topping the $54 million opening of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Granted, I don't know if this will be enough to save July from its downward spiral, but I know I am at least going to enjoy this one much more than the Transformers movie.

It's going to take a whole lot more than a decent sequel to turn this month around, but as long as Dawn manages to be as interesting and intriguing as Rise - it will be a film worth watching. I'll be back on Sunday with the results.


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