The Purge 2: Anarchy fell short of sowing chaos on the Planet of the Apes as it finished a distant second to last weekend’s domestic chart topper. Its $28.3 million opening run, though markedly behind Apes’ $36 million encore weekend, is a clear win for Universal. It is the biggest horror launch of the year, and well on track to overtake Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’ $32.4 million annual benchmark for the genre. The film is set within the madness of a national crime Holiday where any activity whatsoever is legal for 24 hours and stars Frank Grillo and Michael K. Williams. It is due to open in Europe and South America over the coming week, and given the youth appeal of its subject matter will probably add a not entirely inconsequential sum to its cumulative.
American audiences found themselves once again drawn to a post-apocalyptic San Francisco inhabited by Apes and Men of varying degrees of humanity. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes recorded a $36 million dollar weekend, down 50% from last frame, in an almost identical drop to its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Overseas it finished in second place with $61 million coming from 51 territories. Its international cumulative is now $101.5 million, while the combined figure of $240.9 million is so far a bit underwhelming for Fox’s second big summer offering after X-Men.
The choicest branch on the American tree may belong to our simian cousins but international honors are once again locked in the Iron grip of Transformers: Age of Extinction. This weekend’s $81.2 million haul brings its foreign market total to an astonishing $659.1 million. Its domestic tally of $227.1 million, 10 of which came from this frame’s 5th place finish, means that Michael Bay’s effects extravaganza has earned an absurdly high $886.3 million global cumulative in under a month. It is well on course to become the first billion-dollar movie of the year, and has a good chance of eclipsing the $1.12 billion series record set by 2011’s Dark of the Moon. The difference between the two will most likely come down to its stratospheric $285.7 million showing to date in China.
Speaking of which, the biggest success in any single market this weekend did not come from a Hollywood studio. Tiny Times 3, from Tianjin based Le Vision pictures and bestselling author Jinming Guo, made $48 million in its home country throughout the course of its opening week. Focusing on four rich and beautiful university students and their adventures in love and loss, the film resonated well with the new generation of Chinese consumers.
Planes: Fire Rescue, Disney’s sequel about cutesy anthropomorphic aeroplanes, finished its first domestic weekend with an $18 million gross. The pricey $50 million feature earned an A cinema score, which Disney hopes will help to drag it into the black.
Also opening with a whimper was Cameron Diaz starrer Sex Tape. The R-rated comedy, featuring Jason Segel as the accompanying protagonist of a misplaced romantic home video, earned a modest $18 million in its first Thursday to Sunday frame.
Better news was to be had for Richard Linklater’s intensive character study Boyhood. The picture, which is quickly turning into the most praised art film of the year, earned $1.198 million from its weekend expansion into 34 American theatres.
Stay tuned next week for the openings of Luc Besson’s Lucy, starring a telekinetic Scarlett Johansson, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Hercules.