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‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Eyes $65 Million Domestic Opening in Early Box Office Tracking

Variety logo Variety 7/3/2017 Seth Kelley
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War for the Planet of the Apes” could see an opening in the $55 million to $65 million range, according to early industry tracking.

That’s in about the same range as the two previous installments in the rebooted franchise. 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” opened to $54.8 million domestic, while 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” made $72.6 million during its first weekend. The two movies combined have earned nearly $1.2 billion worldwide. “Dawn” leaned more on the international market, which accounted for over $500 million of its total take. That’s a trend that’s played out in recent years that “War” is likely to follow.

The latest “Apes” movie is entering a summer season that has not been too kind to franchise sequels. Movies including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Transformers” have had to bank heavily on overseas markets like China to compensate for their big budgets. But, unlike those two movies, “War” has been generally well-reviewed, which could help it build more positive buzz.

And Fox and Chernin seem confident in their product. The review embargo was lifted more than two weeks before it hits theaters, and the movie has earned a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes so far. “Dawn” and “Rise” also earned general approval, which equated to a 90% and 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

Variety‘s awards editor Kris Tapley called on the Academy to “dust off the defunct special achievement award and recognize [Andy] Serkis’ efforts, along with those of the talented artisans behind the scenes who have helped bring his performances to life.”

“Dawn” director Matt Reeves returns to helm the project, based on a script he co-wrote with Mark Bomback, who also co-wrote the previous movie. This time around Caesar (Serkis) and his army of apes are waging a war against the humans, led by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson). Reeves spoke on Variety‘s Playback podcast about feeling that technology available to him has advanced to a new level that helped shape the film. “I wanted the story to be the first really full ape point of view story,” he said. This will likely be Reeves’ final “Apes” movie since he has been signed on to direct Ben Affleck’s standalone Batman movie.

“War for the Planet of the Apes” will open the weekend after Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which is expected to post huge numbers — tracking suggests it could break $100 million in its first weekend. That’s good news considering the summer box office is down nearly 8% from last year. Boosts from Spidey and Caesar could help put things back on track.

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