In depth analysis to come when final numbers are released:
Delivering a higher-than-expected $54 million estimated opening, 20th Century Fox's relaunch of the "Planet of the Apes" franchise hit a jackpot for the studio and director Rupert Wyatt. Exceeding expectations that placed the film's beginning weekend in the mid-$40 million range, audiences were drawn by the unyielding interest in the franchise, as well as strong word-of-mouth from critics. Notably, Time Magazine named the film the Best Film of 2011 in its much-quoted review. With a relatively modest budget of $93 million for this type of production, 20th Century Fox has what looks to be a big hit to carry the studio through the rest of the summer.
The R-rated comedy winning streak came to a screeching halt with a dismal performance from Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman's identity-switch comedy, "The Change-Up". Tracking looked strong for the film and the underwhelming performance of $13.5 million could stem from any number of reasons.
"The Change-Up" could simply be the straw that broke the camel's back when it comes to the R-rated comedy run for 2011. Jason Bateman is still drawing strong returns for his part in "Horrible Bosses", which zoomed past the $100 million mark heading into the weekend. Critics ravaged the film and identity-switch comedies not named "Big" or "Freaky Friday" have only had limited box office histories. Questions have resurfaced on the bankability of Ryan Reynolds as a leading man, following "Green Lantern"'s poor showing. Despite attempting to market the film to young males, the attendance was 59% female, which led to Universal reps to state to Nikki Finke at Deadline that they were "confounded by it (the stronger appeal towards women than men)." Whatever the reasons, the film is not going to earn back its $52 million production budget stateside, and that is a big disappointment for a film some at Universal thought could potentially hit $90-$100 million domestic.
An estimated 12 films surpassed $1 million for the weekend, with a 13th film, "Midnight In Paris" just missing the mark at $992k. When actuals are counted, the film could sneak into that group.
TOP 10 FILMS FOR 8/5/11 - 8/7/11 WEEKEND (numbers are estimated):
1. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, $54.0 million, NEW
2. THE SMURFS, $21.0 million, 2 weeks, $76.2 million total
3. COWBOYS AND ALIENS, $15.7 million, 2 weeks, $67.4 million total
4. THE CHANGE-UP, $13.5 million, NEW
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, $13.0 million, 3 weeks, $143.2 million total
6. HARRY POTTER/DEATHLY HALLOWS 2, $12.2 million, 4 weeks, $342.8 million total
7. CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE., $12.1 million, 2 weeks, $42.2 million total
8. FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, $4.7 million, 3 weeks, $48.5 million total
9. HORRIBLE BOSSES, $4.6 million, 5 weeks, $105.2 million total
10. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, $3.0 million, 6 weeks, $344.2 million total