Not only did the apes begin to conquer the human world onscreen, but they managed to retain their top spot at the box office as well. Despite competition from four diverse new movies, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" remained the #1 movie in America over the weekend.
The sci-fi prequel took in another $27.5 million during its second weekend of release for a $104.8 million total, according to studio estimates. Starring James Franco, "Rise" is a descendent of 1968's original "Planet of the Apes" which was itself based on Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel of the same name.
Whereas "Apes" was written in the '60s but set in a distant future, "The Help" was written just a couple of years ago but is set in the '60s. The movie adaptation of the hit book about a Southern belle who collects the stories of several African-American maids opened at #2 with $25.5 million, which was much stronger than observers predicted. Perhaps they should have known better: The book, by Kathryn Stockett, was legendarily turned down by some 60 literary agents before becoming a best-seller.
Both of the movies in the top two spots have benefited from positive reviews and strong word-of-mouth, while two of the weekend's big flops — "Final Destination 5" and the heavily promoted "30 Minutes or Less" — suffered from mostly poor reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
"Final Destination 5" was the first flick in the horror movie franchise to open lower than its predecessor, mustering up just $18.4 million to open at #3. Pricier 3-D screenings accounted for roughly 75 percent of the gory sequel's business.
The last time Jessie Eisenberg worked with director Ruben Fleischer was on "Zombieland," which opened to overwhelmingly strong reviews and nearly $25 million two years ago. Their latest collaboration, the comedy "30 Minutes or Less," took in just $13 million over the weekend to open at #5.
With a reported budget of just $28 million, the movie, which stars Eisenberg as a pizza deliveryman who is kidnapped by two low-rent hoods (played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) who intend to force him to rob a bank, opened much lower than low-budget R-rated sleeper hit "Bridesmaids" did earlier this summer.
"Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" suffered the worst opening of all of the new major wide releases, coming in at a distant #11 with $5.7 million — even worse than the 3-D Jonas Brothers movie. The budget for the film, featuring the stars of the hit Fox series, was roughly $9 million. Another movie about a group of singing friends, "The Smurfs," was #4 with $13.5 million. The live-action/animated mix has made $101.5 million since it opened three weeks ago.
This weekend's new releases include franchise reboot "Conan the Barbarian," which sees Jason Momoa taking over from Arnold Schwarzenegger; "Fright Night," a remake of the 1985 vampire-moves-in-next-door horror romp; Anne Hathaway's romantic "One Day"; and the latest installment of Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids" series, "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D," which will screen in what producers are calling "Aromascope Smellovision."
Check out everything we've got on "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
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