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It’s about time apes got some respect around Hollywood. They’re no longer cute comedic side characters wearing children’s pants or bow ties. These smarter-than-the-average mammals now rule the box office and soon the planet. Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened above expectations with $54 million.
The prequel/reboot of the Planet of the Apes managed to open surprisingly strong for a late summer release. August was not considered a strong release window until The Bourne Ultimatum overtook the 2001 August opening weekend record set by Rush Hour 2. Now Rise of the Planet of the Apes holds the fifth spot on that list between G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and Rush Hour 3. Considering the obstacles the prequel had to overcome, including a 10-year gap since the Tim Burton reboot, the poor reception of said film, and the silly sounding premise, it is a feat the movie opened nearly $10 million above projections.
Such a happy ending was not the case for The Change-Up. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman's body-switching comedy ranked fourth with $13.5 million. R-rated comedies are hit or miss. Bridesmaids was a hit, this is a miss. When compared to others of its kind, such as Freaky Friday, 13 Going on 30, and 17 Again, the newest entry falls short in terms of an opening weekend gross by $8-10 million. So instead of taking a respectable second place, The Smurfs dominated with an additional $21 million. Cowboys & Aliens added $15.7 million.
The Top Ten1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - $54.0M (weekend)…$54.0M (gross)
Four new movies debut next weekend, not the least of which is 30 Minutes or Less. This R-rated comedy opens at 2,600 locations nationwide and stars Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride among others. Whereas Eisenberg is coming off of two hits in The Social Network and Rio, McBride’s most recent effort Your Highness was an unfortunate fail. Although the premise seems fun and the previews are laughter inducing, pothead comedies are basically sketchy bets.
Nothing seems sketchier, however, than Glee The 3D Concert Movie. Opening at 1,800 theaters, this is a concert documentary shot during the hit Fox show's summer tour. Earlier this year, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $73 million after opening with $29.5 million. Concert movies are pretty consistent money-makers albeit never blockbusters. “Glee” will open in the vein of its cohorts Michael Jackson’s This is It and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds.
The least predictable opener is The Help. Starring seasoned actresses and bright young starlet Emma Stone, The Help travels back in time to the era of segregation. It focuses on a story of spirit and friendship in the midst of serious racial protest. The marketing has kept things sunny, predicting a comedic and heartfelt spin on the era rather than a shame-inducing drama. The film opens Wednesday at 2,500 locations.
Last but not least, Final Destination 5 arrives in 3,100 cinemas in the 3-D and IMAX formats. The fourth and previous entry was the highest grossing of the series opening with $27 million in 2009 and catching the frontend of the 3-D onslaught. The series has mainly been consistent closing out between the high $40- and $50-million range across the series. But with the added format boosting the fourth, and then final film to $66 million, the latest entry could top it. Horror has not had a place in this summer’s schedule thus far, but the genre has three offerings out within the next few weeks. Predict the box-office winner this Friday in the comment section of the Box Office Wizard article right here on Player Affinity.
Your Player Affinity hosts of The Plot Hole movie podcast discuss their opinions of new releases every Tuesday. Listen to Episode 18 to hear the commentary on The Change-Up and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (see www.playeraffinity.com/podcast every Tuesday night)