'Planet of the Apes' climbs to top of U.S. box office charts

Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:28pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," a sequel about highly intelligent apes that battle with humans for dominance, has knocked the giant "Transformers" robots out of the top spot on U.S. and Canadian movie charts.

The 3D "Apes" movie collected $73 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from Rentrak. "Transformers: Age of Extinction," a sequel that ruled the box office the two previous weekends, dropped to second place with takings of $16.5 million.

"Tammy," a Melissa McCarthy comedy about a fast-food worker who gets fired, claimed the No. 3 spot with $12.9 million.

"Apes" picks up the story of 2011 film "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" 10 years later. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar, a brainy ape who leads his species and negotiates their interactions with the few humans who survived a deadly virus.

The films are reboots of the franchise that began with the 1968 classic film about apes that launch a revolution.

"Dawn" debuted stronger than 2011's "Rise," which grossed $54.8 million during its opening weekend. "Dawn" also exceeded pre-weekend forecasts for a debut of $63 million to $70 million at North American theaters. "Apes" added another $31 million in international markets for a global debut of $104 million, according to 20th Century Fox, the unit of 21st Century Fox which released it.

Critics applauded the new installment, with 91 percent of reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website recommending the film.

Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, said the debut was "the perfect box office storm. It's rare when critics and audiences like the same property, but it's not just a summer blockbuster. There's thought and intelligence to this movie," which cost $170 million.   Continued...

Cast member Mark Wahlberg poses for pictures before the European premiere of the movie "Transformers: Age of Extinction" in Berlin June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter