Box Office: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Swings To $73 Million Weekend

The law of diminishing returns in box office speak translates to drop in per theater attendance. When Transformers: Age of Extinction became the first 2014 release to open at $100 million or above, it signaled that a huge drop could be expected the following week. Through poor word of mouth the fourth installment of Michael Bay’s Transformers saga (?) and worse critical reception it lost nearly 64 percent of its first weekend audience, yet still retained the #1 spot (the first summer release to do so) on Fourth of July weekend – a weekend that lacked quality competition.

The arrival of 20th Century Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes all but assured took the #1 spot this weekend with an extremely healthy $73 million opening. That’s up around 33% from 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a hit when it was released the first week of August that year. It would get to close to $500 million worldwide before leaving theaters. Unlike Transformers, which was guaranteed a big opening because it is a huge franchise – the previous installment, Transformers: Dark of the Moon earned more than $1 billion overall – Dawn had positive reviews, strong word of mouth and it wasn’t matched against any other new major releases its opening weekend. It also helped that its subject matter was more adult fare and darker than the average blockbuster. I fully expect it to have a stronger second weekend up against the likes of Sex Tape and a sequel to The Purge.

As for Transformers: Age of Extinction, the blockbuster is a monster hit at home and internationally. In China, it is the most successful release of all time, surpassing the earnings of Avatar and The Avengers among others. After three weeks the film has grossed $752 million making it the highest grossing film of the year worldwide. But with another significant drop in attendance it likely means Age of Extinction will be the first Transformers release to gross less than $300 million in the U.S. What money it fails to make in the U.S. it will recoup internationally where, like the previous entry, it will surpass $1 billion.

Outside of the top two earners, Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy is having a better hold after a weak debut on July 4th. 22 Jump Street is still in the top five discussion after five weeks in theaters ($172m domestically). Earth to Echo, the only non-animated family release in theaters at the moment fell 30% its second weekend, so that somewhat redeems Relativity for giving it the Fourth of July slot. As the animated family release in theaters for families, it seems that with continuous practice audiences have slowly made How to Train Your Dragon 2 into a small success, but DreamWorks Animation would surely like the final worldwide gross to be above $400 million. The costly, well by horror movie standards, Deliver Us From Evil will be happy to break even before it hits RedBox where average movie watcher will pick it up on a whim.

Disney’s Maleficent continues to be one of the bigger box office success stories of the summer. After seven weeks it is near $700m worldwide and is still in the top 10, making it the one movie release this summer with the longest legs of staying in the top 10.

As far as smaller releases go, The Weinstein Company’s Begin Again expanded wide in its third week and cracked the top 10. Their mishandled sci-fi actioneer Snowpiercer hit VOD over the weekend where it will be seen by more on television screens than in actual movie theaters. But the big news in limited release is the success of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. With a Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score of 100% and the highest rating on Metacritic this century, the IFC Films release opened in five theaters to gross $359,000.The family drama is in select company trailing Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s highest per screen average of the year. It should be interesting to see how IFC Films handles the film in upcoming weeks, as the indy studio isn’t known for having its films play at more than a few hundred locations.

01. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $73 Million
02. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $16.5 Million ($209.03m)
03. Tammy – $12.9 Million ($57.35m)
04. 22 Jump Street – $6.7 Million ($171.9m)
05. How to Train Your Dragon 2 – $5.8 Million ($152m)
06. Earth to Echo – $5.5 Million ($24.6m)
07. Deliver Us From Evil – $4.7 Million ($25m)
08. Maleficent – $4.17 Million ($221.9m)
09. Begin Again – $2.9 Million ($5.28m)
10. Jersey Boys – $2.5 Million ($41.7m)

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