By the time it had seen just 3 sunsets, this weekend’s number one film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had earned over $73 million. Leading actor and by this point primate behavior expert Andy Serkis returned in his starring role as Caesar the digitally augmented ape, while Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and the incomparable Gary Oldman appeared in simple flesh and blood to round out the cast. Apes had little competition in its target demographic, having wisely elected to wait out Transformers: Age of Extinction’s ravenous assault on the summer box office. It hit its mark, making these tidy opening numbers from an audience that was 58% male and 45% under the age of 25. As Fox’s third blockbuster of the year, along with X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Fault in Our Stars, Planet of the Apes carried the studio over the billion-dollar film sales mark this weekend, the fastest it has ever reached this indicator.
Overseas the picture earned $31.1 million from 26 territories over the weekend. It placed first in 14 of these markets, including its biggest, Korea, where Apes earned $11.5 million. Australia was its second most successful region. It made $6.6 million Down Under and even earned an endorsement from Humane Research Australia for its portrayal of apes as sentient beings and the attention it called to the scars left on them by animal testing. Other notable successes were first place openings of $1.9 million in Malaysia, $1.59 million in Thailand, and $1.33 million in Singapore. America, Europe, Japan, and the real prize for every film this year every other after, China, won’t see Apes until later this month.
Still, on the international front an all too familiar chromed face showed up to take this weekend’s top award. Transformers: Age of Extinction pulled another $100.3 million out of its active territories. Stellar numbers from the UK made up a good chunk of this sum as it scored the biggest launch of the Transformers series, as well as the year of 2014, with a take of $20.1 million including 6 days of previews. Mexico came in big as well with a $15.8 million number one opening thrilling audiences over the weekend. Argentina, despite a Sunday racked first with anxiety and then with depression leaving many potential viewers home-ridden after a very difficult loss in the World Cup final, was good for $2.8 million. Chile, which is proving to be an interesting market lately, contributed $1.8 million from 160 locations. China still hasn’t lost any enthusiasm for the Michael Bay film, which features a number of locations in the People’s Republic as well as Chinese actress Li BingBing. Audiences showed up in droves once again to give the Fox picture $24.2 million in its third weekend. It now has a $261.7 million cumulative there, and an international total of $543.5 million. In the US, it came in second at $16.5 million
In spite of Apes’ monopoly on domestic screens this weekend, Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy managed to draw in that neglected segment of filmgoers who aren’t males under 25 and earned $13 million in its second frame. It has now grossed $57 million at home proving early reports of its demise greatly exaggerated. Its counterpart for the silver medal abroad, How to Train Your Dragon 2, made $34.4 million in 63 countries. Trailing on the international chart was Maleficent in third at $13.4 million and Chinese release Old boys: The Way of the Dragon in fourth with $12.4 million.
New art-scene darling Boyhood, by Richard Linklater, opened to a $385,000 limited release for a $71,000 per-screen average.Overwhelmingly positive reviews may not be enough to turn this 2 ¾ hour study of a boy’s life shot over 12 years into a mass-market hit.
Planes 2 opens next weekend, as do The Purge: Anarchy and Sex Tape.