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Weekend Box Office: Apes a Poppin' as Dawn Cruises to Easy Win

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By Chris Kavan - 07/13/14 at 10:15 PM CT

The question going into the weekend wasn't if Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was going to open #1, it was how good was it going to be? Although the franchise may not have the appeal of the Marvel or Transformers name - it still had a smashing opening and bodes well for the future of the franchise. The same can't be said for the box office overall, as the summer doldrums continued for Hollywood as the weekend was down 26% compared to the same frame last year. It's still looking like this summer isn't going to recover, although there are still a few strong contenders to come.


I was a big proponent of the original Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which impressed me because of the direction they took the story. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was an improvement (in my eyes) and audiences agreed. Dawn opened to $73 million - a nice gain over the $53.7 million that Rise opened with. In terms of summer blockbusters, Dawn also topped World War Z ($66.4 million) though it couldn't rise to the level of a superhero blockbuster. Still, that is a great showing for the franchise - and critics and audiences were in agreement for once. The film has a 90% Rotten Tomatoes score and audiences awarded it an "A-" Cinemascore. That should translate to at least a $200 million total, with plenty of room to go even higher. The audience was mostly male (58%) and older (55% over 25) - the movie also took in about 36% of its grosses from 3D screens. The film is also poised to destroy the mark that Rise set on the international market - even though it has only opened in a handful of markets, it has outpaced Rise in every one - the original took in $305 million, Dawn should be able to top that with little effort.


With another blockbuster stealing its thunder, Transformers took a 55.5% hit - dropping to second place with $16.5 million. That was enough to propel the film across the $200 million mark and it now stands at $209 million. With the films winding down, it now appears the latest Transformers film is going to wind up around the $250 million mark (or a little more). But the big story for the film still surrounds its international appeal. Age of Extinction officially holds the record in China with $262.6 million (and still climbing) and is now the top-grossing film (internationally) of the year with $543.5 million and with some big territories (Japan, France, Germany among them) still to come, it's pretty much guaranteed to cross the $1 billion mark. It is a great benchmark but it kind of leaves me sad, as I really don't think Transformers deserves all this love but, hey, I can always hope the next one gets it right (and you know there is totally going to be a next one with the kind of cash it's raking in).


Melissa McCarthy's somewhat uncouth comedy took in $12.9 million (down 40%) and crossed the $50 million mark for a new total of $57.35 million. Though some are claiming that McCarthy's schtick is running a bit thin with this one, considering the film only cost $20 million, it has already more than made up its budget. Tammy is still on pace to cross the $75 million mark and should ultimately wind up at around $80 million total for its run.


The comedy sequel retained its fourth-place spot in its impressive five-week run. Dipping about 32% from last weekend, 22 Jump Street took in $6.7 million and now stands just under the $172 million mark. Though it is fading a bit, the film has had a great run (on a mere $50 million budget) and should still have enough gas to near that $200 million mark, and maybe even cross it.


The animated sequel also kept its fifth-place spot (also entering its fifth weekend), dropping about 35%. It took in $5.86 million, crossing the $150 million mark with a new total of $152 million. That is just above its $145 million budget, but considering how well the original film was received, the finally tally of this film has to be seen as a disappointment.

Outside the top five: John Carney's Begin Again added 764 theaters to its count (939 total) and jumped 133.6% (from 15th to 9th in the process) - adding $2.93 million for a new total of $5.3 million. In the limited box office, Richard Linklater's long-in-the-making Boyhood scored the year's second-best per-theater average - playing in just five theaters, it made $359,000 - or $71,800 per theater. It has gained near universal praise and should play well as it expands in the coming weeks.

Next week is going to be busy as there will be three films vying for attention: Planes: Fire & Rescue will corner the family market - and see if it performs better than Dragon 2, Sex Tape will try to outwit Tammy in the raunchy comedy department and The Purge: Anarchy will try to be a successful horror film - something that has been hard to find this year.


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