The "Planet of the Apes" franchise was all the rage in the late 1960s, and this past weekend, what's old was new again as "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" dominated the box office.
The latest installment of the "Apes" series (itself a loose prequel to the 2001 reboot) enjoyed the fifth-biggest August opening ever (ninth when adjusted for ticket price inflation) with $54 million across 5,400 screens in North America, according to studio estimates. It also earned much more favorable reviews than the Tim Burton-directed "Planet of the Apes," released a decade ago and starring Mark Wahlberg.
Released in 1968, the original "Planet of the Apes" was based on a novel by Pierre Boulle and spawned several sequels, a cartoon series, action figures, lunch boxes and more through the early '70s. Several of the late Charlton Heston's lines from the sci-fi classic are often quoted in film-fan circles and the first movie's climax is regarded as one of the greatest twists/reveals in modern cinema.
"The Change-Up" also looked to revive a dormant premise but failed to deliver. The comedy opened at number four with just $13.5 million. When asked what made this "body swap" movie different from flicks like "Freaky Friday," co-star Jason Bateman told late-night host Jimmy Fallon it's the R-rating given to his team-up with Ryan Reynolds. "Face/Off" director John Woo, the crew behind "The Hot Chick" and "Switch" writer/director Blake Edwards would likely beg to differ. The movie was dismissed by 80 percent of critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
"The Smurfs" — based on the hit '80s Saturday morning cartoon, itself originated by a series of comic strips from the late 1950s — was number two with $21 million, for a 10-day total of $76.2 million. "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau's "Cowboys and Aliens" was number three with $15.7 million for a 10-day total of $67.4 million. The Marvel Comics "Avengers" prequel of sorts "Captain America: The First Avenger" rounded out the top five with $13 million for a $143.2 million total.
Next weekend's new releases include the comedy "30 Minutes or Less," starring Jesse Eisenberg and former MTV Movie Awards host Aziz Ansari, and "Final Destination 5."
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