‘Apes’ to overtake ‘Transformers’


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the only major release bowing nationwide this weekend, and should claim the No. 1 spot at the box office with little trouble. Just how much it will earn, however, is another question. The film’s predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, opened to $54.8 million. Though these returns were solid, they paled in comparison with the revenue generated by Tim Burton’s take on the original 1970s franchise: Burton’s Planet of the Apes set a July opening weekend record when it opened to $68.5 million in 2001. The movie quickly lost its good standing among fans, however, and its eccentric director was not asked to helm a sequel. Flash forward a decade, when Rise opened softer than the ’01 Planet but better pleased critics and viewers. The former have thrown their support behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as well (the film is 92 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).  Fox is expecting returns comparable to Rise, that is, in the mid $50 millions. However, Fandango has the film tracking as well as World War Z, meaning Fox’s estimate could be a bit conservative: Z bowed to $66.4 million last summer. At least most everyone agrees Apes is poised to displace Transformers: Age of Extinction. The extent to which fans are suffering from summer franchise fatigue (Captain America, The Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, and Transformers) will likely determine the success or otherwise of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The specialty box office is looking much more interesting this weekend. Begin Again, which has earned a respectable $2 million in limited release, expands to 939 theatres today. The musical from Once’s John Carney may have a shot at cracking the top 10 and potentially doubling its revenue to date, earning around $4 million.

The deafeningly buzzy indie Boyhood also opens today, in limited release across five locations in NYC and LA. The film, which director Richard Linklater shot in increments over the course of 12 years, chronicles the maturation process of an American boy as he ages from six to 18. Boyhood has an incredible 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critical enthusiasm alone should attract a measure of viewers, while Linklater, the director behind the beloved Before trilogy starring Ethan Hawke (who also co-stars in Boyhood) and Julie Delpy, can count on a nice turnout from his own dedicated base of fans. Pundits have forecasted returns around and even north of $50,000 per theatre.