Box Office Results for August 5, 2011

This weekend, audiences all hailed Caesar as the primate at the center of the sci-fi reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes conquered the North American box office with an opening that rose well past industry expectations.  Conversely, the latest in the summer’s parade of R-rated comedies The Change-Up generated a lackluster debut finishing in fourth place.  But the overall marketplace remained robost thanks to the incredible breadth of titles.  For the first time all year, seven different films made over $10M over the weekend.

20th Century Fox scored another solid top spot debut this summer with a franchise origin story as Rise of the Planet of the Apes soared to an estimated $54M opening weekend.  Playing in 3,648 theaters, the PG-13 film averaged a muscular $14,803 and ranked as the third best debut of the summer for a 2D-only film after Warner Bros.The Hangover Part II ($85.9M) and 20th Century Fox and Marvel’s X-Men: First Class ($55.1M), which like Rise of the Planet of the Apes revisited a popular sci-fi franchise by exploring the origins.  Both X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes were well-liked by critics.

Starring Academy Award Nominee James Franco as a scientist that inadvertently discovers a way to boost intelligence in chimpanzees while searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, Rise of the Planet of the Apes lacked any other major starpower and was the twelfth action film of the summer leading to expectations not being too high.  But an exciting marketing push and strong reviews helped to spark interest allowing Rise of the Planet of the Apes to generate the fifth biggest August opening in history.  The new technique of a human actor playing the apes through motion-capture technology created intrigue too.  An encouraging A- CinemaScore grade bodes well for the road ahead and next weekend does not have any new action opening so Rise of the Planet of the Apes may not fall the way most pics of this genre do.  With a reported budget of $93M, the reboot got off to a terrific start.

Internationally, Rise of the Planet of the Apes debuted in 25 markets and bowed to an estimated $23.4M.  Most of the markets were not major.  Bigger territories like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom open next week.

Sony Animation’s family hit The Smurfs enjoyed a terrific hold in its second weekend dropping only 41% to an estimated $21M for a solid ten-day start of $76.2M.  With no new choices for parents, and opening weekend audiences spreading positive word-of-mouth all week, the PG-rated comedy remained the most popular item for kids as they near the end of their summer vacations.  The Smurfs, which can continue using “#1 Comedy in America” in its ads for another week, should find its way past the $125M mark and could go much higher if it continues to show strong August legs.

After opening last weekend a big ahead of The Smurfs, the sci-fi western hybrid Cowboys & Aliens fell a much larger 57% in its second outing to an estimated $15.7M giving Universal and DreamWorks $67.4M after ten days.  The Daniel CraigHarrison Ford actioner may break $100M domestically, but won’t go much higher.  That makes for a disappointing run for the expensive $163M budgeted production, which involved top-tier Hollywood names like director Jon Favreau, executive producer Academy Award Nominee Steven Spielberg, and producer Academy Award Winner Ron Howard.  By comparison, Spielberg’s other sci-fi production this summer Super 8 fell by only 39% in its sophomore session after an opening weekend that was about even with Cowboys & Aliens.  With a much more modest $55M budget, that creature feature broke the $200M global box office mark this weekend.

Opening in fourth place to disappointing results was Universal’s body-switching comedy The Change-Up, which grossed an estimated $13.5M from 2,913 locations for a mild $4,635 average.  It was the latest in a long line of R-rated summer comedies and many moviegoers felt they had enough already.  Plus bad reviews told audiences that this was not some special film worth taking another trip to the multiplex for.  Ticket buyers have already spent an incredible $760M+ this summer on Warner Bros.’ Crazy, Stupid, Love., Screen Gems and Castle Rock’s Friends With Benefits, New Line’s Horrible Bosses, Columbia’s Bad Teacher, Warner Bros.’ The Hangover Part II, Sony ClassicsMidnight in Paris, and Universal and Apatow’s Bridesmaids.  All are comedies aimed at adults, most with R ratings.  The Change-Up was too little, too late.

Starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds as friends with different lives who swap bodies, the raunchy pic carried a cost of $52M, which is high for a comedy.  Females made up 59% of the audience while those over and under age 30 were evenly split.  A discouraging B CinemaScore indicates a rough road ahead, especially with four new releases hitting theaters next weekend including yet another R-rated comedy, 30 Minutes or Less, from Columbia and Media Rights Capital.  Bateman and Reynolds both scored $100M+ grossers earlier this summer with Horrible Bosses and Green Lantern, respectively.

Close behind in fifth with an estimated $13M was the super hero flick Captain America: The First Avenger, which declined by 49% in its third frame.  Paramount and Marvel’s domestic total stands at $143.2M.  International markets brought in an estimated $27.5M this weekend sending the overseas cume into nine-digit territory with $103M for a worldwide gross to date of $246.2M.  Marvel’s three-pack of comic book pics this summer – Thor, X-Men: First Class, and Captain America: The First Avenger – have now smashed the $1B mark in combined global box office.  Next summer is sure to be even bigger with The Avengers kicking off the season on May 4 and The Amazing Spider-Man landing on July 3.

Ranking sixth was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which also became the top-grossing global hit of 2011.  The final wizard pic dropped 45% domestically to an estimated $12.2M elevating the 24-day total to a massive $342.8M putting it at number 18 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just behind Paramount and Hasbro’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  Overseas delivered huge numbers again thanks to a robust opening in China.  Official estimates were not available for that market but the studio reported a rough count of $25.5M contributing to the international weekend haul of $61.8M allowing the cume to surge to $791.1M.  Potter’s worldwide total rose to a stunning $1.13B surpassing the $1.04B of Walt Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to become 2011’s number one global grosser.  In addition, the 3D franchise closer now ranks third on the all-time worldwide box office list behind Academy Award Winner James Cameron‘s duo Avatar and Titanic.  A final haul north of $1.3B seems likely.


A trio of comedies aimed at adults followed.  Steve Carell’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. held up very well in its second weekend slipping only 37% to an estimated $12.1M for a solid ten-day tally of $42.2M.  A final gross in the neighborhood of $75M could result for Warner Bros.  Screen Gems and Castle Rock’s Friends With Benefits fell a sharp 49% to an estimated $4.7M bringing the 17-day gross to $48.5M.  The revenge tale Horrible Bosses followed with an estimated $4.6M, off 36%, for a $105.2M cume for New Line.

Falling 51% in its sixth round was the worldwide smash Transformers: Dark of the Moon with an estimated $3M lifting the domestic haul to $344.2M.  That puts Michael Bay’s latest robot warfare flick at number 17 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list.  Overseas, the Autobots film kept rising with an estimated $17.5M for an international haul of $693.5M and a mammoth global gross of $1.04B.  The biggest market outside of the United States continues to be China, which has now banked a stunning $137M.


The top ten films grossed an estimated $153.8M, which was up a healthy 31% from last year when Columbia Pictures’ The Other Guys opened in the top spot with $35.5M; and up 22% from 2009 when Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, and Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra debuted at number one with $54.7M.


August 5, 2011 to August 7, 2011 Top Ten



1.   Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  • $54,000,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

2.   The Smurfs

  • $21,000,000
  • Sony Pictures Animation (Sony)

3.   Cowboys & Aliens

  • $15,748,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal), DreamWorks Pictures (DreamWorks SKG), and Reliance Entertainment

4.   The Change-Up

  • $13,502,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal)

5.   Captain America: The First Avenger

  • $13,000,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • Marvel Studios (Disney)

6.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

  • $12,160,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

7.   Crazy, Stupid, Love.

  • $12,100,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

8.   Friends With Benefits

  • $4,700,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony) and Castle Rock Entertainment (Time Warner)

9.   Horrible Bosses

  • $4,620,000
  • New Line Cinema (Time Warner)

10. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

  • $3,015,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom) and Hasbro


August 6, 2010 to August 8, 2010 Top Ten



1.   The Other Guys

  • $35,543,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

2.   Inception

  • $18,505,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

3.   Step Up 3

4.   Salt

  • $10,908,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

5.   Dinner for Schmucks

  • $10,375,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom), DreamWorks Pictures (DreamWorks SKG), and Spyglass Entertainment

6.   Despicable Me

7.   Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

  • $6,902,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

8.   Charlie St. Cloud

  • $4,700,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal)

9.   Toy Story 3

10. The Kids are All Right


August 7, 2009 to August 9, 2009 Top Ten



1.   G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

  • $54,713,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom), Spyglass Entertainment, and Hasbro

2.   Julie & Julia

  • $20,028,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

3.   G-Force

  • $9,871,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Disney) and Jerry Bruckheimer Films

4.   Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • $8,928,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

5.   Funny People

  • $7,986,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal), Columbia Pictures (Sony), Apatow Productions, and Madison 23 Productions (Happy Madison)

6.   The Ugly Truth

7.   A Perfect Getaway

  • $5,949,000
  • a Universal release (NBC Universal)
  • Rogue Pictures (Relativity Media)

8.   Aliens in the Attic

9.   (500) Days of Summer

10. Orphan

~ by Matt Whitfield on August 8, 2011.

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