Box office preview: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' hopes to swing into the top spot


Apes and aliens and smurfs, oh my! After last weekend’s down-to-the-wire box office battle between The Smurfs and Cowboys And Aliens, this frame brings us two more new releases, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Change-Up, both fighting for box office glory. Which will succeed and which will fall? Check out my box office predictions below:

1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes: $42 million

Sure, this $90 million Fox prequel stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis, but if we’re being honest, none of those actors are real box office draws. The main attraction of Rise of the Planet of the Apes is simpler: pure nostalgia. Fans of the 1968 original turned out in droves for Tim Burton’s 2001 remake, which grossed a strong $180 million at the box office, and a solid audience will probably check out Rise as well.

Fox has given the action film a big advertising push in recent weeks, emphasizing the impressive special effects utilized in the production, and the animal adventure has surprised just about everyone by earning such strong reviews overall. With a clearer storyline, a wide release in 3,648 locations, and a connection to an already established brand, Apes will likely surpass the $36.4 million Cowboys and Aliens earned last weekend and rise to $42 million in three days. (Side note: Jersey Shore is currently playing on MTV. It just occurred to me that that the simultaneous premieres of Jersey Shore and Rise of the Planet of the Apes could be part of the most synergistic marketing campaign ever, because, really, what’s the difference?)

2. The Smurfs: $23 million

Since The Smurfs‘ debut last week, the itty bitty blue guys have garnered box office results that are anything but, and they’re likely to continue that trend this weekend. Family films tend to fall softly after opening weekend, and although you might not agree with it, The Smurfs‘ “A-” CinemaScore grade means it’s likely experiencing strong word-of-mouth. The 3-D affair has played remarkably well over the course of the week, pulling in $15.5 million on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday alone, and beating Cowboys and Aliens handily each day. Sony’s other kiddie flick, Zookeeper, fell by a scant 39 percent in its second weekend, despite competition from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. With so much momentum behind it, and with no similar competitors entering theaters, Smurfs may do even better, dropping just 35 percent to $23 million.

3. The Change-Up: $16 million

As any box office aficionado knows, this has been the summer of the R-rated comedy. The Hangover Part II has earned a ginormous $253.2 million. Bridesmaids has pulled in $165.8 million. Bad Teacher has $97.1 million so far. Horrible Bosses will cross the $100 million mark today. Clearly, this sort of fare has been popular. But when Friends With Benefits opened to a lukewarm $18.6 million opening two weeks ago, it suggested that maybe audiences were nearing their consumption limit of raunchy comedies in one summer.

Now, Universal’s $52 million Jason Bateman/Ryan Reynolds body-switch comedy, The Change-Up, is hoping to join in on the box office fun. Frankly, though, tracking has been very discouraging, pointing the film towards an opening in the low double digits. I think the film will do a bit better than that — Jason Bateman has accrued some goodwill with audiences with Horrible Bosses, and people seem to genuinely like Ryan Reynolds (just not Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern). Poor reviews won’t help the film in the long run, but they shouldn’t affect it too much this weekend. Playing in 2,913 theaters, The Change-Up may earn $16 million.

4. Cowboys and Aliens: $15 million

It may have just edged out The Smurfs last weekend, but you can rest assured that Cowboys And Aliens will fall a whole lot faster. The $163 million sci-fi western is exactly the kind of genre film that fanboys rush out to see on opening weekend, which almost always guarantees a hefty second weekend decline. On top of this, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will provide huge competition, and Cowboys‘ so-so “B” CinemaScore grade won’t elicit much positive word-of-mouth. Captain America fell by 61 percent in its second frame, and if its underwhelming weekday grosses are any indication, Cowboys And Aliens is headed for a similarly steep drop and a sad $15 million weekend.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger: $13 million

For tentpole releases, third weekend drops tend to be mercifully less steep than second weekend declines. (The most recent Harry Potter flick fell by 72 percent in its second weekend, and then 53 percent in the next frame.) For Captain America, that means the superhero film is headed for a drop of about 45-50 percent this weekend down to $13 million, which would push Cappy’s total to a solid $143 million.

Follow Grady on Twitter: @BoxOfficeJunkie

Comments (27 total) Add your comment
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  • poop


    • LOL

      America loves monkey crap!

      • Tom
        spoiler alert

      • STFU

        Good job! You’re second. Your patient waiting by the computer paid off. Now you can go about your day knowing that your redundant statement has been posted. I’ll check back later for the Fast Five comment you will evidently post later so I can go about mine.

      • LOL

        First, second, third, eighth, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just say what needs to be said. And yes, Fast Five is an amazing film, which makes crap like this monkey thing even sadder.

  • Rob

    Small typo in the paragraph concerning The Change-Up – it’s “affect”, not “effect”.

    • Grady Smith

      You have to be the most pleasant typo correcter ever! Corrected.

  • scorpio9094

    “Get your stinkin’ CGI ape paws off me you damn dirty CGI ape!!

  • scorpio9094

    Sorry should have been “Get your stinkin CGI paws off me you damn dirty CGI ape!!”

  • Luis Silva

    i NEVER do this but the title of this article is dumb and makes no sense.

  • ChrisV

    I actually think you are optimistic in your prediction for “Cowboys & Aliens.” I only gave it a “C”, and I just don’t think the word of mouth will be there.

  • JC

    Ryan Reynolds is terrible.

    • tom

      but hot with a hairy chest and his mouth…..on….my….nevermind

    • RyanandKev

      Yeah, sometimes you don’t watch an actor’s movie for their acting skills. Sometimes you just wanna watch the actor . . . and fantasize.

  • Vin

    I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love last weekend, and it was both hilarious and moving. It’s definitely one of the best romantic comedies I’ve seen. Let’s hope it stays in the top 5 this weekend. Can’t wait to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes on saturday!

  • jake

    My cousin saw an early screening of the change up and she said it was hilarious from beginning to end and I said that the previews don’t show that, but she said that its actually good because you would be surprised at how many laughs there are. Horrible bosses is my favorite movie of the summer and it’s a must see if you haven’t seen it. charlie day should get an oscar nomination.

    • Woot

      While I love Charlie Day and I’m 85% sure you are Jason Bateman’s publicist, Charlie Day should not get an Oscar nomination for playing himself.

  • Woot

    Captain America may get beaten by Harry Potter this weekend. It’s only pulling about 100K more each day so far during the work week. Crazy Stupid Love isn’t far behind HP. It will be interesting to see how much they jump up on Friday.

  • Jose

    I wonder if Harry Potter gets the number 5 spot instead of Captain America, and what sort of hold Crazy Stupid Love and Friends with Benefits have.

    Am interested in seeing Rise of the Planet of the apes but I’ll probably see it next weekend, I’m curious though as to why people think it’ll make so much, it doesn’t look like much in terms of “must see blockbuster” factor

    • Pittner

      When I saw the first trailer for Apes I thought the movie looked awful but everyone else seemed to say it looked great. The more trailers I see the worse it looks. I think they’re brainwashing us into thinking the CGI looks good but it doesn’t. I’d still rather have someone in make-up than CGI.

  • Brett

    “Potter” has made its money. “Cap” still has legs.

  • Keith

    I’m thinking you guys may be overestimating the success of The Change Up. I don’t think Ryan Reynolds is as big a box office draw as people think–there’s a difference between being likable and being a reason people want to spend money. Mediocre reviews coupled with a premise that seems woefully unoriginal, I don’t know.

    • justme

      I agree, he seems likeable in interviews and stuff but on the big screen, he doesn’t have it to me. Just like Jake Gyllenhall, both are good looking guys that Hollywood seems to insist are leading men, but both can’t open movies and both don’t have the box office draw on their name alone, they are likely better to go the supporting actor route. Why does EVERY actor and their reps think they have to be the lead??!

      • Keith

        Agreed. The press has been working overtime to make Reynolds a superstar. Agree about Gyllenhall, also. I actually like Jake much more as an actor, but you’re right. Stars on the level of say the Leos and Depps are more and more rare. I think they can ADD to a draw, maybe like Reynolds did with The Proposal (although I think anyone could have been in that movie–Bullock was the star), but not seeing them carrying a picture.

  • Debra

    LMAO!! Your comparison of Jersey Shore and Rise of the Planet of the Apes — haven’t laughed so hard in ages!!

  • Dave

    The Change Up just doesn’t look very good. I don’t know anyone who is even remotely interested in seeing it, which is something I can’t say for the slew of other R-rated comedies that have come out this summer.

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