‘Kingdom of the Planet Apes’ Is Not Enough to Achieve a $100 Million Box-Office Weekend

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” (Disney) opened to $56.5 million, slightly above pre-opening projections, which is encouraging after “The Fall Guy” (Universal) last week. That’s a relief to theaters that hope summer releases meet their potential and buffer what is expected to be a major drop in revenues versus last year.

20th Century Fox released “Planet of the Apes” in 1968. For an old franchise, this is one that still has plenty of life: The “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” opening matched the last “Planet of the Apes” installment in 2017 (albeit when tickets cost 15 percent less). Speaking of old franchises, it also beat the $55 million opening of the 2021 Bond entry “No Time to Die.” Disappointing B Cinemascore aside, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” seems poised for a solid run.

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The opening for “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” doubled that of “The Fall Guy”; that differential happens to reflect the difference in the films’ production budgets. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” took in an initial $129 million worldwide. “The Fall Guy” is up to $104 million after two weekends.

And yet … this was another sub-$100 million domestic weekend, once that’s made worse by its timing (May) and the presence of two expensive top-tier releases with positive reviews and other compelling elements. On the other hand, last year represented only a slight improvement with $101 million; after this weekend, with $95 million, the year-to-date drop is 22 percent. That should improve, but the current trajectory would mean a 2024 domestic gross of $7.1 billion.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” strongly appealed to male viewers (nearly 60 percent), with 69 percent of those 25 or older. It’s good to see that level of interest from the older group, but it takes strong support from the 18-24-year-olds to take a blockbuster to the next level.

Several weekend estimates factored in optimism that Mother’s Day would boost some films. Universal suggests “The Fall Guy” will drop 13 percent on Sunday (normal would be around 30 percent). A 13 percent drop would represent a 51 percent fall from opening.

At best, that would mean a normal hold — and normal won’t boost the film’s prospects. The Ryan Gosling title is headed for perhaps $80 million domestic and $150 million-$160 million worldwide. That would be fine if the film cost 50 percent less.

“Tarot” (Sony), last weekend’s other wide opening, held better (down 47 percent) from a much weaker start. Still, horror films generally drop 55 percent or more. The real horror is placing #4 in May with less than $3.5 million.

At #3 is “Challengers” (MGM Amazon), which held even better its third weekend. It’s down 38 percent for $38 million total so far. The best holds in the Top 10 were “Kung Fu Panda 4” (Universal), off 20 percent and creeping up on $200 million, and “Unsung Hero” (Lionsgate), down 25 percent; the studio projects that Sunday will be above Saturday.

Next Friday sees the domestic debut of John Krasinski’s family fantasy “IF” (Paramount). It opened in France and Belgium this weekend, behind “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” but close enough to suggest initial appeal. Sony’s animated “The Garfield Movie” has grossed $36 million in foreign dates ahead of its May 24 domestic opening.

“Wildcat”Courtesy of TIFF

Best among specialized expansions were the second weekend of “I Saw the TV Glow” (A24), with $195,000 in 21 theaters ($9,200 per theater) and “Evil Does Not Exist” (Sideshow/Janus) with $103,000 in 34. Ethan Hawke’s “Wildcat” (Oscilloscope) expanded to 6 theaters for $72,000, with most of that gross coming from special shows in Atlanta and Nashville.

Harmony Korine’s guerilla efforts continue with “Aggro Dr1ft” (EDGRLD) playing 10 p.m. shows only, many sold out, in 20 theaters for $45,200. Total domestic to date is $121,000; it expands wider this Friday.

The Top 10

1. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 65; Est. budget: $160 million

$56,500,000 in 4,075 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $13,865; Cumulative: $56,500,000

2. The Fall Guy (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$13,700,000 (-51%) in 4,008 (+6) theaters; PTA: $3,418; Cumulative: $49,690,000

3. Challengers (Amazon MGM) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$4,684,000 (-38%) in 2,609 (-868) theaters; PTA: $1,795; Cumulative: $38,074,000

4. Tarot (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #4

$3,450,000 (-47%) in 3,104 (no change) theaters; PTA: $1,111; Cumulative: $12,015,000

5. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (Warner Bros.) Week 7; Last weekend #5

$2,525,000 (-44%) in 2,531 (-353) theaters; PTA: $998; Cumulative: $191,821,000

6. Unsung Hero (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #7

$2,250,000 (-25%) in 2,272 (-560) theaters; PTA: $990; Cumulative: $16,786,000

7. Kung Fu Panda 4 (Universal) Week 10; Last weekend #8; also on PVOD

$2,000,000 (-20%) in 2,111 (-269) theaters; PTA: $947; Cumulative: $191,170,000

8. Civil War (A24) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$1,805,000 (-49%) in 2,204 (-485) theaters; PTA: $819; Cumulative: $65,65,215,000

9. The Phantom Menace (Disney) REISSUE Week 2

$1,500,000 (-83%) in 2,700 (no change) theaters; PTA: $556; Cumulative: $(adjusted) 837,550,000

10. Abigail (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #9; also on PVOD

$1,100,000 (-53%) in 1,641 (-997) theaters; PTA: $670; Cumulative: $24,750,000

Other specialized/independent titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first three weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed. Metacritic scores and initial film festivals recorded.

Not Another Church Movie (Briarcliff) NEW

$360,000 in 1,108 theaters; PTA: $325

Poolmen (Vertical) NEW – Metacritic:; Festivals include: Toronto 2023

$131,000 in 162 theaters; PTA: $809

Force of Nature: Dry 2 (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 58; Festivals include:

$34,551 in 151 theaters; PTA: $226

The Lavender Hill Mob (Rialto) NEW (reissue)

$5,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,500

I Saw the TV Glow (A24) Week 2

$195,111 in 21 (+17) theaters; PTA: $9,291; Cumulative: $367,765

Wildcat (Oscilloscope) Week 2

$72,260 in 12 (+9) theaters; PTA: $12,043; Cumulative: $134,355

Evil Does Not Exist (Sideshow/Janus) Week 2

$102,700 in 34 (+31) theaters; PTA: $3,021; Cumulative: $165,099

Aggro Dr1ft (EDGRLD) Week 3 (non-consecutive)

$45,500 in 20 theaters; Cumulative: (est.) $120,000

Stress Positions (Neon) Week 4

$5,300 in 15 (-2) theaters; Cumulative: $101,950

We Grown Now (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$7,465 in 26 (-44) theaters; Cumulative: $274,696

The Long Game (Emick/Mucho Mas) Week 5; also on PVOD

$35,000 in 65 (-81) theaters; Cumulative: $3,010,000

Wicked Little Letters (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7

$175,577 in 520 (+332) theaters; Cumulative: $4,567,000

La Chimera (Neon) Week 7

$24,000 in 35 (-18) theaters; Cumulative: $764,079

Late Night with the Devil (IFC) Week 8; also on PVOD and streaming

$11,584 in 30 (-36) theaters; Cumulative: $9,951,000

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