Weekend Wrap Up: Audiences Bow to Caesar

In terms of box office numbers, this has been an extraordinarily lackluster summer. In terms of quality, we’ve actually had some very good films and even the lesser ones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Transformers: Age of Extinction) were at the very last entertaining. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came into this weekend unopposed, and given how disappointing this summer has been, it was hard to tell what kind of opening we’d see. As it turned out, Caesar and his family will be just fine.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A chimp brandishes an automatic rifle while astride a rearing horse.

After getting started with a disconcertingly low $4.1 million from Thursday night previews, DOTPOTA rebounded over the rest of the weekend and ended up pulling in a strong $73 million. That’s slightly above most expectations, and it’s a solid $19 million higher than what Rise of the Planet of the Apes pulled in three years ago. DOTPOTA held very well throughout the weekend, a sign that its main audience is skewing toward older viewers, and also that word of mouth is strong. Going forward, DOTPOTA doesn’t face any truly tough competition for three weeks until Guardians of the Galaxy, so it should hold well in the coming weeks. But it’s hard to even guess where this will end up; I’ll need to see the drop next weekend to make a proper assessment.

Age of Extinction continued to fall hard, dropping 56% to $16.5 million. It has $209 million through three weeks and will probably finish around $240 million. In third, Tammy dropped 40% to $12.9 million. I’m really disappointed with that drop, as I was hoping this film would crash and burn. But, oh well. $57.4 million in total for the Melissa McCarthy vehicle. Down 32%, 22 Jump Street pulled in $6.7 million. That brought its sum to a very strong $172 million.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 dropped 35% to $5.9 million. Hiccup, Toothless and the gang have amassed $152 million so far. Fellow family film Earth to Echo alsoheld well, dipping just 34%, but that’s going to be too little too late. $5.5 million this weekend raised its total to $24.6 million. Deliver Us from Evil fell 52% to $4.7 million, giving it just $25 million since its release. Much to my chagrin, Maleficent continues to hold well, this time falling 32% to $4.2 million. With $222 million in total, it’s a lock to surpass Days of Future Past and will end up around $235-240 million. So, please, Caesar, you must hold well and beat this movie. If Maleficent wins the summer crown, I’m going to go on a several month long hiatus from the box office. The very thought is unbearable.

Now that my requisite Maleficent hate-fest is done, let’s move on. Begin Again, a film I’m barely familiar with, finished in ninth with $2.9 million after expanding from a limited release. It has $5.3 million in total. Jersey Boys dropped 51% and grossed $2.5 million, lifting the total to $41.7 million. In a lackluster summer, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes now has a legitimate shot at the seasonal crown. I will definitely be rooting for it, as it was an exceptional film and, as I said earlier, the notion of Maleficent winning the summer crown is sicking. It is literally physically painful to me. DOTPOTA should easily lead again next weekend, as I doubt Planes: Fire and Rescue, The Purge: Anarchy or Sex Tape will break $30 million.

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