‘Apes’ hold the line

ScreenerBlog

For the second week in a row, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes earned the No. 1 slot at the weekend box office. The well-reviewed sequel dipped 50 percent to gross $36 million, an impressive hold that’s among the best of this summer’s blockbusters – tentpoles X-Men, Spider-Man and current worldwide behemoth Transformers: Age of Extinction all suffered downturns of 60 percent over their sophomore outings. The film has earned $139 million to date and is on track to rake in $230+ million by the time its reign/theatrical run comes to an end.

Although The Purge: Anarchy did not manage the b.o. upset many pundits believed was within its reach, the film nonetheless earned a solid second-place gross of $28.4 million. This figure is down 17 percent from the debut of the first Purge, but given the poor word-of-mouth surrounding that film, Universal can count Anarchy’s opening a success. Importantly, audiences enjoyed this second offering in the horror franchise more, awarding the movie a B CinemaScore grade to The Purge’s C. The Purge: Anarchy should end up meeting the total of its predecessor, that is, around $65 million.

Planes: Fire and Rescue also fell shy of the first film in its franchise, Planes, a spinoff of Pixar’s Cars films. Where Planes opened to $22 million last summer, its sequel grossed $18 million. Some pundits are calling Fire and Rescue’s debut surprisingly soft, given the lack of family movies currently screening in theatres. However, the Planes movies, the first of which was originally intended as a straight-to-DVD release, are really a very minor Disney property. The predominantly kid-filled audience (over 42 percent of viewers were under the age of 12) awarded the film a CinemaScore grade of an A. In all, this slight blip of a sequel should total out to $70 million or so.

More surprising than Fire and Rescue’s lackluster opening was the disappointing debut of Sex Tape, the new comedy from Bad Teacher’s Jake Kasdan starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. Reviews  may be terrible, but many believed the combined star wattage of the film’s leads would lure a sizable viewership regardless. Not so: Tape managed just $15 million. The film fell short of not only Bad Teacher’s $31.6 million bow, but also of the debut enjoyed by Diaz’s last film, The Other Woman ($24.8 million), and the opening managed by this summer’s A Million Ways to Die in the West ($16.8 million). Audiences seemed to agree with the critics, awarding the movie a poor C+ CinemaScore grade. Tape’s not long for this world’s theatres, and should fade away quickly, to the tune of roughly $40 million.

Speaking of theatres the world over, Transformers: Age of Extinction continues its global b.o. domination. The film is the first this year to approach the $1 billion international mark. Here in the States, it added an additional $10 million to a domestic cume that currently stands at $227.2 million. It should wind up with at least $250 million in all.

Finally, the specialty division saw another round of packed screenings for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which, after expanding to 33 locations, grossed $1.2 million. Wish I Was Here, on the other hand, opened to a so-so $495,000 from 68 theatres. Poor reviews are likely hurting this second film from Zach Braff, though we’ll see how the dramedy fares when it expands to 600 locations this coming weekend.