This weekend’s biggest opener will be Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a revival of the cult classic sci-fi franchise. The film, produced by 20th Century Fox (NASDAQ:NWSA), stars Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire and the inimitable James Franco.
Apes cost $93 billion to make, a relatively small sum when compared to July’s biggest openers, and similarly expects a more modest box office bow, with projections of about $30 million in its opening weekend. The film is assured to be number one as it faces little competition and has garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Continuing the summer’s trend, another raunchy R-rated comedy will hit box offices this weekend in the form of David Dobkin’s The Change-Up. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman star in the body-switching comedy that gives a new twist to the teen staple. Universal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) hopes the film will do well, especially in the long run as comedies often have good multiples, but tracking has been a bit on the soft side and the film is only expected to make mid-teens, at best. The film could get knocked down a place or two this weekend by holdovers Cowboys & Aliens or The Smurfs.
When compared to July, August releases tend to be a bit soft, with fewer big-budget action movies like this year’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which broke the $1-billion-mark worldwide earlier this week, becoming the third film to do so this year. July brought in $1.4 billion just in domestic revenue, led by Transformers and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, as well as a host of hit comedies doing better-than-average sales.