“Planet of the Apes” is a box office hit with an opening price of $56.5 million

LOS ANGELES – “The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” dominated the box office over the weekend with a North American opening of $56.5 million, the studio estimated Sunday, giving a much-needed boost to an uncertain season in theaters.

The 20th Century Studios and Disney film, based on the rebooted 2010s “Apes” trilogy, had the third-highest grossing of the year, behind the $81.5 million debut of “Dune: Part Two.” in early March and the $58.3 million domestic opening of “Kung Fu Panda 4” a week later.

The strong performance of “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” — it did even better internationally, with a worldwide total of $129 million — comes a week after a tepid start for Ryan Gosling’s “The Fall Guy” signaled that the Summer 2024 is likely to see a significant decline after the “Barbenheimer” spell of 2023.

“Planet of the Apes” easily managed more than the rest of the top 10 combined.

“The Fall Guy” fell to No. 2 with a weekend gross of $13.7 million and a two-week total of $49.7 million for Universal Pictures.

Zendaya's “Challengers” came in third with $4.7 million and has brought in $38 million in three weeks for Amazon MGM Studios.

The opening of “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” directed by “Maze Runner” director Wes Ball, was the second-best of the series, behind the opening weekend of “Dawn of the Apes” in 2014, which grossed 72 million US -dollars brought in.

It is the tenth film in the Planet of the Apes series, which began in 1968 with the Charlton Heston original with a twist ending.

“This franchise was never allowed to lose momentum,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “There are very few franchises that have such longevity.”

And it's really the property itself. The new film shares no central actors or characters with its predecessors.

“There's just this love for the way it combines science fiction with social commentary and pure popcorn entertainment,” Dergarabedian said.

“Kingdom” received strong reviews and positive reception (80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and a “B” CinemaScore). The film was particularly praised for its visual effects and the way its CGI kept up with the primate-on-horse aesthetic since the last film, 2017's “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

Mark Kennedy of The Associated Press called it “thrilling” and “visually stunning.”

The recovery is welcome for the film business, but there is little certainty for the upcoming summer.

In the year to date, an early Marvel film such as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” from 2023 has been missing. 3” is 21% of the previous year’s value in mid-May.

While there are potential blockbusters that are a sure thing like “Despicable Me 4” and “Deadpool & Wolverine” in July, others like “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” later this month and “Twisters” later in the summer seem a sure thing thing to be break one way or another.

Pixar once delivered almost guaranteed hits, but June's “Inside Out 2” may not be as successful as the 2015 original.

“There used to be certain bets that we couldn't necessarily rely on anymore,” Dergarabedian said. “It will be a bit of a stroke of luck.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figures will be published on Monday.

1. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” $56.5 million.

2. “The Fall Guy,” $13.7 million.

3. “Challengers,” $4.7 million.

4. “Tarot,” $3.45 million.

5. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” $2.5 million.

6. “Unsung Hero,” $2.25 million.

7. “Kung Fu Panda 4,” $2 million.

8. “Civil War,” $1.8 million.

9. “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” $1.5 million.

10. “Abigail,” $1.1 million.

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