As expected, Matt Reeves’ sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ruled the US box office this weekend, knocking that God awful Transformers: Age of Extinction off the top spot (hurrah!!).
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, recommended by critics and cinemagoers, was expected to haul in $60 million on its opening weekend. Opening in 3967 US cinemas, the highly praised sequel (which has been called the best film of the year and currently has an A- CinemaScore) actually achieved a much more impressive $73 million.
While not quite reaching the heights of the years biggest films (X-Men: Days of Future Past is top with $111 million, Transformers took just over £100 million, Captain America $95 million, Godzilla $93 million, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 $91 million) this is still a staggering achievement for a franchise that is not really as popular as the years biggest hitters. However, glowing reviews and word of mouth means that Apes should be able to keep the momentum going, and is expected to easily pass $200 million in the US alone. With a budget of $170 million, the latest Apes film will easily make its money back, and some are predicting $240 million in the US.
The $73 million far exceeds Rupert Wyatt’s superb Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opened in 2011 with $55 million in the US.
Outside of the US the film brought in $31.1 million from 26 markets, most of them smaller territories with the exception of Australia and South Korea. Dawn still has plenty of territories to open in, and here in the UK the film will be released this coming Thursday.
“It’s one of those rare times when critics and audiences agree and the confluence created a perfect storm for a phenomenal opening,” said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox. “A lot of the movies over the last couple of weeks have been received on the tepid side, shall we say, so the market was ripe for a high quality, visually-stunning film.”
“With the critical response, we think that the older audience that sustained the first one will turn out and that will help give it legs,” said Aronson.
Andy Serkis, celebrated for his performance in the last film, reprises his role as Caesar. Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Public Enemies, The Great Gatsby), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises, The Harry Potter franchise), Keri Russell (“The Americans,” Mission Impossible III), Toby Kebbell (The Prince of Persia, Wrath of the Titans, Rock N Rolla), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, ParaNorman), Enrique Murciano (Traffic, Black Hawk Down), Kirk Acevedo (The Thin Red Line), and Judy Greer (The Descendants, Three Kings, 13 Going on 30) also star.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In). The producers are Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oblivion), Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Tom Hammel (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is executive producing.
Oscar-winning visual effects house WETA Digital – employing a new generation of the cutting edge performance capture technologies developed for Rise of the Apes and Avatar – will again render photo-realistic, emotionally-engaging apes. The film’s key behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Michael Seresin, production designer James Chinland, and VFX Supervisors Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon, VFX producers Ryan Stafford, editor Bill Hoy and Stan Salfas, and costume designer Melissa Brunning.
Twentieth Century Fox will release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in UK cinemas on 17th July 2014.
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.