Apes wins war with Spi­der-Man

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - TRE’VELL AN­DER­SON LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES (TNS)

LOS AN­GE­LES — Move over, Spidey. Last week­end’s box of­fice be­longs to the apes.

20th Cen­tury Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes pulled in about $56.3 mil­lion in U.S. and Cana­dian the­aters, good enough for first place in its de­but week­end.

“What sets this mod­ern tril­ogy apart is that it’s not a gra­tu­itous se­quel,” said Chris Aron­son, the stu­dio’s dis­tri­bu­tion chief. “This is epic episodic sto­ry­telling.” (It is also No. 9 in the long-run­ning Apes fran­chise.)

The lat­est ad­di­tion, which first sprouted its legs in 1968, show­cases the bat­tle be­tween apes and hu­mans. It’s di­rected by Matt Reeves, who also headed 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Much ado has been made about the film’s use of up­dated tech­nol­ogy that en­livens Andy Serkis’ lead ape. But with Woody Har­rel­son’s ad­di­tion to the fran­chise as the vil­lain and Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, there’s much more to the tale than great vis­ual ef­fects.

Per­haps that’s why the pic­ture has been well-re­viewed by au­di­ences and crit­ics. Movie­go­ers (57 per­cent males; 63 per­cent 25 and older) gave it an A-mi­nus Cinema-Score, and it has a 94 per­cent pos­i­tive rat­ing on Rot­ten Toma­toes.

The Ch­ernin En­ter­tain­ment-pro­duced film cost $152 mil­lion to make.

Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing from Columbia fell to sec­ond place in its sec­ond week with $44.2 mil­lion. Al­though the 61 per­cent week-to-week drop is surely deeper than the stu­dio had hoped for, the $175 mil­lion film has al­ready brought in $207.3 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally to date.

Uni­ver­sal’s De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 con­tin­ues to hold strong, com­ing in third in its third week at $19.3 mil­lion for a do­mes­tic gross to date of $188.4 mil­lion. World­wide, the an­i­mated flick tal­lies at $619.4 mil­lion.

Baby Driver, also in its third week, landed in fourth place with $8.7 mil­lion. The Columbia re­lease has pulled in about $73 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally.

Round­ing out the top five was Ama­zon/Lionsgate’s small but mighty The Big Sick. The film, which was never pegged to ex­pand to the more than 2,500 the­aters, is in its fourth week and brought in $7.5 mil­lion over the week­end. Stel­lar re­views and word of mouth clued the stu­dio in that the pic­ture might be an ef­fec­tive chance for coun­ter­pro­gram­ming (Hol­ly­wood’s handy term for a film that isn’t like the others) and de­cided to dis­trib­ute the movie to sig­nif­i­cantly more the­aters.

“It’s amaz­ing that this in­de­pen­dent film has found its foot­ing as a fam­ily movie among all the summer block­busters,” said Bob Ber­ney, Ama­zon’s head of mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion. The com­edy and uni­ver­sal themes are con­nect­ing with au­di­ences across the coun­try.

Sick, di­rected by Michael Showal­ter, was writ­ten by Ku­mail Nan­jiani and his wife, Emily Gor­don, about their early courtship. Nan­jiani stars as a ver­sion of him­self, an as­pir­ing comic, while Zoe Kazan plays Gor­don in the Judd Apa­tow-pro­duced ro­man­tic com­edy.

The only other wide re­lease over the week­end was Broad Green’s Wish Upon. The dis­mally re­viewed hor­ror film star­ring Joey King, Ryan Phillippe and Ki Hong Lee pulled in $5.5 mil­lion.

20th Cen­tury Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes, which stars Woody Har­rel­son, Steve Zahn and Andy Serkis, came in first at last week­end’s box of­fice, pulling in about $56.3 mil­lion.

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