Box Office: ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ Climbs Higher to $58.5M U.S. Opening, $131.2M Globally

Wes Ball’s Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes brought some much-needed heat to the early summer box office with a domestic debut of $58.5 million and $72.7 million overseas for a global start of $131.2 million. That’s ahead of Sunday’s estimates of $56.5 million in North America to make the movie the third-best opening of the year to date domestically, as well as the second-best launch of the series.

The 20th Century and Disney event pic came in ahead of expectations domestically after Universal’s The Fall Guy — the first film of summer 2024 at the box office — left nerves frayed across Hollywood after opening to a disappointing $27.7 million over the May 3-5 frame. Tracking had suggested the action comedy, starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, would at least start off in the $32 million to $35 million range, which was already a subdued number.

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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes‘ performance is being fueled by a strong turnout by both younger and older males, as well as an ethnically diverse audience. One surprise: It received a B CinemaScore from audiences despite plenty of glowing reviews by critics. Studio insiders aren’t overly concerned about the CinemaScore, noting that 85 percent of moviegoers gave it an A or a B. This suggests that a vocal minority dragged down the overall score by giving it a C or lower. And exit polling by PostTrak shows both general audiences and kids and parents giving the fourquel four out of five stars. Good word-of-mouth helps to explain why Sunday traffic was so much stronger than expected.

The pic is the fourth title in the rebooted series that began with the James Franco and Andy Serkis starrer Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011 and cost a net $160 million to make before marketing, which is notably less than the cost of the last two titles.

Overseas, where the series has always been a big draw, Kingdom took in a solid $72.7 million overall. It did big business across Latin America but struggled in some European countries (sunny skies kept moviegoers in the U.K. outside). And China was a mixed blessing. While coming in No. 1 with $11.4 million, the movie’s potential was impacted by competition from a trio of local titles. Excluding China, Ball’s movie boasts the second-highest opening of the series behind the 2017 threequel.

Franchise fatigue is always a concern, but Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes was able to come in ahead of the $56.3 million domestic opening of the last installment, 2017’s War of the Planet of the Apes, no small feat, not adjusted for inflation. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, released in 2014, opened to a franchise-record $72.6 million. In 2014, Rise debuted to $54.3 million domestically.

Kingdom did huge business in Imax and other premium formats, which collectively accounted for 41 percent of the opening gross.

Owen Teague, Freya Allan, Kevin Durand and William H. Macy lead the latest installment. Set 300 years after the events in 2017’s War of the Planet of the Apes, Ball’s movie follows a group of young apes who question the authoritarian rule of the ape who has taken the place of Caesar. Along their journey, the apes bond with a young human.

The Fall Guy placed second domestically with an estimated $13.7 after tumbling 51 percent for a 10-day total of $49.7 million. Universal had hoped for a decline of 50 percent or less (as with Apes, those numbers could shift when Monday actuals are released).

More women did turn out to see Fall Guy in its sophomore outing and made up 53 percent of Friday’s audience in a win for Universal’s post-release marketing push focusing on the film’s rom-com action storyline. However, hopes are ebbing that the movie will grow its audience to the needed levels.

Overseas, The Fall Guy earned $9.4 million from 80 markets for a tepid foreign tally of $54 million and $103.7 million globally.

Zendaya-starrer Challengers, from Amazon MGM Studios, is holding at No. 3 in its third weekend. It’s dipped a narrow 38 percent to an estimated $4.7 million for a domestic total of $38.4 million through Sunday. It also continues to serve up solid numbers at the foreign box office, where it grossed $4.2 million from 63 markets for a cume of $30.6 million and $68.7 million globally. Warner Bros. International is handling the movie offshore per its ongoing deal with MGM.

Screen Gems and Sony’s Tarot placed No. 4 with an estimated second-weekend gross of $3.4 million for a tepid 10-day domestic tally of $12 million after falling 47 percent. Its global total stands at $20.2 million against a net reported budget of $8 million before marketing after earning another $3 million overseas for a foreign total of $8.2 million.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire rounded out the top five all the way in its seventh frame with $2.6 million, enough to push it past the $190 million mark domestically for Legendary and Warner Bros. Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 4 also cleared the $190 mark as both hope to reach the $200 million milestone.

The weekend’s other new nationwide offering, Not Another Church Movie, wasn’t even able to crack the top 10. The movie, from Briarcliff, opened to a mere $335,000 from 1,108 theaters. That’s among the worst starts ever for a movie going out in more than 1,000 cinemas.

The summer box office brings the release of John Krasinski’s IF next weekend. The Paramount family film, starring Ryan Reynolds, opened early in France and Belgium this weekend, grossing a promising $3.6 million.

Alcon and Sony’s Memorial Day event pic The Garfield Movie is also opening early offshore, albeit on a much larger scale. It grossed $11.8 million from 22 markets this weekend for an early foreign total of $36 million. Alcon produced and funded the family film

May 12, 8:30 a.m. Updated with Sunday estimates.
May 13, 7:33 a.m. Updated with revised numbers.

This story was originally published May 11 at 8:45 a.m.

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