'Apes' rules North American box office for second straight weekend

Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:07pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sci-fi sequel "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" beat a new horror flick, an animated family film and an adult comedy to keep its grip on the U.S. and Canadian box office title for a second straight weekend.

"Apes" collected $36 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from Rentrak, only the second summer film to top the box office for two consecutive weekends. Low-budget horror film "The Purge: Anarchy" finished in second place with $28.4 million.

Another new big release, Walt Disney Co's animated "Planes: Fire and Rescue," grabbed third place with $18 million, while the comedy "Sex Tape" took in $15 million for the No. 4 spot.

"Apes," a sequel to the 2011 franchise reboot "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," has rung up some $242 million worldwide since its July 11 debut, according to distributor 20th Century Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox. The movie stars Andy Serkis as Caesar, a brainy ape who leads the interactions with humans in the battle for dominance.

"The Purge: Anarchy," a follow-up to 2013 summer hit "The Purge," tells the story of a couple whose car breaks down at the start of an annual purge, a 12-hour period in which crime is legal. Produced for $9 million, it ranks as another successful, inexpensive movie produced by horror filmmaker Jason Blum.

"This is going to be a super-profitable film for the studio," said Nikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp unit that released the film.

Noting that "the market has been depressed for these kinds of films," Rocco added that the solid $28 million opening "was better than we would have hoped for."

The $50 million "Planes: Fire and Rescue," another sequel, features the voice of U.S. comedian and actor Dane Cook as a crop dusting plane that joins forces with a team of rescue vehicles to fight a wildfire, and follows last summer's "Planes," a spinoff of Disney's blockbuster "Cars" films.   Continued...

Actor Andy Serkis, winner of the CinemaCon Vanguard Award, arrives for the Big Screen Achievement Awards during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada March 27, 2014.  REUTERS/Steve Marcus