‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ to Lead Box Office Post-Holiday Slump

After a dismal box office turnout in North America over the Fourth of July weekend, the critically acclaimed sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set to drive audiences back to the theaters. The latest installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise is expected to easily top both its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes and every other film premiere this weekend.

The film, opening in 3,800 theaters, follows Ceasar the ape (Andy Serkis) leading a community of hundreds of other genetically engineered apes in the Muir Woods. After ten years of living peacefully and without contact from humans, a small group from San Francisco who survived the worldwide plague comes across the ape city and both sides are forced to the brink of war to determine who is the world’s dominant species.

Given how well Rise of the Planet of the Apes did in its debut in August 2011, earning $54 million, the sequel, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman, is likely to surpass that. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is already projected to garner around $60 million in its opening weekend, providing a much-needed boost to the box office after the steep decline in summer movie revenue over the holiday weekend. Helping its cause? Critics have given the sequel glowing reviews. In fact, with the flick holding a 95 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of Thursday morning, it might even be the most well received blockbuster of the summer so far.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is also being rolled out to 28 territories overseas this weekend. Should it follow in the same trajectory of the first film, which eventually took in $481.8 million worldwide, the sequel should earn a strong turnout in other major markets as well. Viewers will have the option of seeing the flick, which cost roughly $170 million to make, in a 3D version too.

Richard Linklater’s much buzzed-about indie drama Boyhood will also hit a handful of theaters in Los Angeles and New York this weekend. The film, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and earned Linklater a best directing award at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, was shot over a twelve-year period in order to recount the story of a boy as he grows up in a divorced household. For this particular film, IFC Films has committed to a different launch strategy, choosing not to launch on VOD and debuting the film in select theaters first before later expanding nationwide. Critics have called the film a masterpiece and it currently has a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also hitting theaters this weekend is Sony Pictures Classics’ Sundance hit Land Ho! The movie, starring Paul Eeenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson, follows two 60-something former brothers-in-law as they set out on a road trip through Iceland. The movie, which has earned praise for the chemistry between the stars and the gorgeous setting, will also open in select theaters first before a bigger release.

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