Millions of years of evolution, learning to use bones as weapons and tools and such – thanks, Monolith – and finally, the apes have their day. Well, they’ve had days before. Rise of the Planet of the Apes wasn’t able to match the $68.5m opening weekend of Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of the original. Still, with the critical lauding married to the better-than-expected opening weekend, Rise could likely go down as a much more successful film than the Planet of the Apes remake. It cost slightly less, too, $100m for the 2001 film compared to $93m for Rise. Regardless of how it contends with Burton’s film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes had a highly successful weekend, one that surly put grins on faces over at Fox, and one that could spark a new series continuing the hilarious hi-jinks of Caesar and his primate pals. I’m sure most of the critical and public world would welcome such a series alike.

The same can’t be said for The Change-Up. Not only did it get blasted by harsh criticism pretty much across the board, the R-rated comedy came nowhere near its expected weekend numbers. In fact, as far as R-rated comedies go this Summer, The Change-Up had the worst opening numbers of them all. Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, and Friends With Benefits all came in above or way above the $15m mark in their first three days. Not true with The Change-Up, which coupled with the lack of success Jason Bateman and/or Ryan Reynolds have had with their name alone, pretty much proves each of them needs either a property, ensemble cast, or A-list co-star to bring their starring vehicles in on target. Or maybe it’s just the awful reviews. Sometimes critics do have the power. Just don’t tell any of them I said that. Egos and whatnot.

After 24 days and $1b in worldwide grosses, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was still unable to top Transformers: Dark of the Moon to become the #1 domestic grossing film of 2011. That said, Transformers also takes the robotic cake for the Summer, a pretty successful Summer at that. If you include Fast Five – many analysts do, as its release came during the April-to-May three-day – the Summer saw five films top $200m domestic. Granted, that’s down from six in 2010, but it matches the number seen in 2009. The grand total for the top 10 this Summer came in at $2.2b domestic, down from $2.4b domestic for the 10 biggest films last Summer. Nonetheless, with three films topping $1b worldwide – something that’s never been done before, the box office season can be seen as anything but a disappointment.

Here’s the top 10 from the Summer and their domestic takes:

  1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $344.1m
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $342.8m
  3. The Hangover Part II – $253.2m
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $239m
  5. Fast Five – $209.8m
  6. Cars 2 – $184.7m
  7. Thor – $180.8m
  8. Bridesmaids – $166.4m
  9. Kung Fu Panda 2 – $162.6m
  10. X-Men: First Class – $145.2m

The Summer movies will still see month or two of release and these numbers will get shifted around a bit. Captain America will definitely be knocking X-Men off that list with a well-placed shield to the head, and Harry Potter will without question take the top spot sometime this coming week. And who knows? When all is said and done Midnight in Paris could inch its way into the #10 spot. Okay, that’s a stretch, but would you really be all that shocked?

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $54m NEW
  2. The Smurfs – $21m (-41%) $76.2m total
  3. Cowboys & Aliens – $15.7m (-56.8%) $67.3m total
  4. The Change-Up – $13.5m NEW
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger – $13m (-49.1%) $143.1m total
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $12.1m (-44.7%) $342.8m total
  7. Crazy, Stupid, Love. – $12.1m (-36.7%) $42.1m total
  8. Friends With Benefits – $4.7m (-49.3%) $48.5m total
  9. Horrible Bosses – $4.6m (-35.7%) $105.1m total
  10. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $3m (-50.5%) $344.1m total

The weekend brought in $153.7m, down from last weekend but not a shock considering we’re in the dog days of August, almost a dumping ground for films that don’t quite make the cusp of being Summer blockbuster fare. Next weekend sees a number of films that fall right into that category released. The Help opens Wednesday and 30 Minutes or Less – I refuse to include that annoying : – Final Destination 5, and Glee the 3D Concert Movie all open wide. I’ll just be imagining a world where those last three combine to make one movie where the Glee kids get stalked and picked off by Death, and it’s only 30 minutes long. Ah, happiness.

We’ll be back on Thursday to see how the weekend is shaping up.


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