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‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Tops ‘Spider-Man’ Box Office But Disappoints Despite Rave Reviews

Summer sequels face serious box office competition while 'Baby Driver' and 'The Big Sick' surge forward.

“War for the Planet of the Apes”

War for the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox), the third entry in the third round of the science-fiction series that launched in 1968, achieved a respectable if not spectacular $56.5 million opening, notching the top slot against the second weekend of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony), which dropped an unexpectedly large 61 per cent.

READ MORE How ‘Planet of the Apes” Started Hollywood’s Franchise Obsession

Remarkable and unprecedented for summertime play, three of the top five films this weekend “Apes,” “Baby Driver” (Sony) and “The Big Sick” (Lionsgate) are critically acclaimed wide releases with Metacritic scores over 80. That range of specialized titles and awards contenders is far from typical summer fare.

“Apes” received the top reviews of this well-regarded trio. The advance buzz was big enough to suggest an opening over $70 million. Instead, it is the lowest — in adjusted grosses, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” did the equivalent of $61 million, 28 per cent below “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” three years ago.

The “War for the Planet of the Apes” total still comes out ahead of several disappointing summer franchise sequels. But with a $150-million production budget before marketing, the movie will need a decent hold and stronger foreign results to make its expected profit. More importantly, the result is not enough to suggest a continuation of this series at this expense.  Again, the impact of so much repetition in the release schedule diminishes even the top franchise entries.

Baby (ANSEL ELGORT) is chased by the cops in TriStar Pictures' BABY DRIVER.

“Baby Driver”

Wilson Webb

“Baby Driver” is thriving, with a fabulous hold: only a  33 per cent drop in its third weekend. It’s at $73 million domestic, and could even stretch to reach $100 million.

The Lionsgate/Amazon family dramedy “The Big Sick” raced to $7.6 million and $16 million so far. The number is reasonable for an arthouse crossover with niche appeal (a true romance about a Muslim man whose girlfriend faces a health crisis) but the film fell short of some predictions that it could pass $10 million. Next weekend will be critical to see if it can reach its potential, although it will easily top “The Gift” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife” to become the top specialty release film of 2017.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming”

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” fell a steep 61 per cent, similar to two earlier franchise entries, but far more than its two predecessors, which initiated fresh stars and stories (those dropped 38 and 44 per cent respectively). It competed with “War for the Planet of the Apes” for an overlapping audience. But this now looks to reach $325 million domestic, which is good enough to be a nice profit maker combined with foreign and other revenues. But does it justify more expensive sequels ahead?

The marvel of the summer continues to be Warner Bros./D.C. Comics’ “Wonder Woman,” which fell only 30 per cent in its seventh weekend, just under $7 million and good enough for sixth place. Even with its pattern for strong holds, this one is incredible, and now revises expectations for its total domestic gross to over $400 million.

Wish Upon

“Wonder Woman” actually bested the other new wide release, Broad Green’s horror entry “Wish Upon” which could only manage $5.6 million in 2,250 theaters.

The Top Ten came in a $157 million, $6 million better than a year ago. That reverses a recent trend, and helps in the struggle to equal 2017 so far. It could be temporary. As much excitement as there is for Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” next week (which also brings Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” from STX and Universal’s raunchy comedy “Girls Trip”), it faces comparison to a weekend last year that saw three new films led by “Star Trek Beyond” which opened to $100 million combined.

 Top Ten

1. War for the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox)  NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 83; Est. budget: $150 million

$56,500,000 in 4,022 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $14,048; Cumulative: $56,500,000

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$45,200,000 (-61%) in 4,348 theaters (no change); PTA: $10,396; Cumulative: $208,270,000

3. Despicable Me 3 (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$18,948,000 (-44%) in 4,155 theaters (-380); PTA: $4,560; Cumulative: $187,990,000

4. Baby Driver (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$8,750,000 (-34%) in 3,043 theaters (-183); PTA: $2,875; Cumulative: $73,152,000

5. The Big Sick (Lionsgate) Week 4; Last weekend #8

$7,600,000 (+112%) in 2,597 theaters (+2,271); PTA: $2,926; Cumulative: $16,037,000

6. Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$6,885,000 (-30%) in 2,744 theaters (-344); PTA: $2,509; Cumulative: $380,636,000

7. Wish Upon (Broad Green) NEW – Cinemascore: C; Metacritic: 30; Est. budget: $12 million

$5,587,000 in 2,250 theaters; PTA: $2,483; Cumulative: $5,587,000

8. Cars 3 (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #6

$3,167,000 (-41%) in 2,049 theaters (-653); PTA: $1,546; Cumulative: $140,032,000

9. Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$2,780,000 (-56%) in 2,323 theaters (-918); PTA: $1,197; Cumulative: $124,889,000

10. The House (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #7

$1,795,000 (-62%) in 1,633 theaters (-1,501); PTA: $1,099; Cumulative: $23,130,000

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