There was no monkeying around this weekend over at Fox Studios, as summer set piece War for the Planet of the Apes took off in the US and Canada with $56.5 million in first place. With the first battle over, this weekend’s box office champ has made a nice beachhead but there are still a lot of skirmishes left to win before it can call its campaign victorious.
War follows 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a summer hit that opened 22% higher at $72.6 million and went on to earn $710 million worldwide. Caesar, the genetically enhanced ape played by Andy Serkis in the last two films is back and once again finds himself torn between conflict and cooperation with his human neighbors. A radical military faction called Alpha-Omega led by a brutal colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, has stepped up the war against Caesar’s tribe and is aiming for total extermination. With the help of a band of gorillas who have grown tired of their chimpanzee leaders they managed to capture a great number of their fellow apes and use them as slaves. The colonel’s ruthless tactics have earned him many enemies among the other surviving factions of the US Army and all of these fractious alliances lead up to a great and multi-sided battle that will decide the fate of the planet of the apes.
2017’s sequel fatigue has slowed War down at home so far, but like many other domestic underperformers it seems to be doing well abroad so far. With openings in 61 territories it made $46.5 million. Only two of these, the UK ($9.5 million) and Russia ($5 million) were major territories. The rest of the new markets were mainly smaller European and Southeast Asian countries. Four of the series historically biggest territories, China, South Korea, France and Mexico, have late July and August release dates.
Holdover Spiderman: Homecoming fell farther than expected on the domestic market. Despite generally good reviews and an A-Cinemascore it slipped 61% to $45.2 million in its sophomore frame. Fellow summer hero flics Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did better with 43 and 56 percent second frame drops. It did however do strong business during the week and has reached a domestic cume of $209 million, already more than The Amazing Spiderman 2’s whole domestic run. It made $72.3 million from 63 foreign territories, and reached $261.1 million. South Korea is turning out to be a boon for Sony and Marvel. A second first place frame worth $11 million brought the local cume up to $45 million, outpacing any previous Spidey film. The UK reached $21.9 million, Mexico made it to $20.4 million, and Brazil arrived at $19.4 million. Spiderman’s combined global take is now $469.37 million, with China still to come.
Back on the home market, Despicable me 3 ended its third frame with $18.7 million in third place and crossed $600 million worldwide. Baby Driver also had a strong third session, ending the weekend with $8.7 million in fourth place and a $73 million domestic cume. The Big Sick meanwhile made its move into major release territory, adding 2,271 theatres and taking in $7.6 million in its fourth outing.
Next week will be a big one with both Dunkirk and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opening in North America.