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Posted at 10:06 AM ET, 08/08/2011

‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ rules box office


"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" — never underestimate the box office appeal of a chimpanzee who gets ticked at mankind. (WETA - AP)
At the beginning of the summer, most box office prognosticators probably would not have predicted that “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” would enjoy a more lucrative opening weekend than “Cowboys & Aliens.”

But here we are in early August, reporting that “Apes” — featuring that impressive motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis — is the No. 1 movie in North America, having earned an estimated $54 million at the box office.

That’s more than the $36.4 million “Cowboys & Aliens” earned last weekend, when it ultimately wound up edging out “The Smurfs” for the top spot by the slimmest of margins after what initially looked like a money-making tie. It’s also more than both the much-hyped “Green Lantern” and “Super 8” collected in their debuts.

How did other movies fare? Let’s just say this was not a good weekend for Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. More on that, as well as a list of the weekend’s top five movies and a poll asking you to predict next weekend’s winner, after the jump.

Ryan Reynolds can’t catch a break: The actor encountered his second big-screen disappointment of the summer, as “The Change-Up” — the switcheroo comedy in which he co-starred with Jason Bateman — brought in a lackluster $13.5 million, landing in fourth place. Critics gave the film wretched reviews and even the stars themselves admitted the premise was pretty goofy. Bateman, whose “Horrible Bosses” earlier this season fared much better and just crossed the $100 million, seems poised to escape this semi-debacle unscathed. Fairly or not, every metric associated with a Reynolds film will be analyzed, especially after all the focus on his big star potential via “Green Lantern.” The guy alone certainly doesn’t guarantee box office dollars. Then again, few actors do. For example...

Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford watch “Cowboys & Aliens” drop: This week, there’s no question that “The Smurfs” outdid the “Cowboys.” Smurfete and the gang saw their movie remain in second place with $21 million, while “Cowboys & Aliens” fell to No. 3 with $15.7 million, a more than 56 percent decrease in business.

“Harry Potter” closer to becoming the year’s biggest movie:Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is still the biggest North American moneymaker of 2011 so far, with $344 million in whatever Optimus Prime uses for pockets. But “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is close behind, with $342.8 million in box office receipts. Could it overtake “Transformers” by next weekend? Possibly, especially if Potter fans can remember that spell that allows films to outpace Michael Bay blockbusters. Ask Hermione. She always knows that stuff.

The top five movies at the weekend box office were:

1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — $54 million

2. “The Smurfs” — $21 million

3. “Cowboys & Aliens” — $15.7 million

4. “The Change-Up — $13.5 million

5. “Captain America: The First Avenger” — $13 million

And a poll that allows you to predict next weekend’s winner. Can the much-buzzed-about adaptation of “The Help” rise to No. 1?

By  |  10:06 AM ET, 08/08/2011

Categories:  Movies

 
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