Rise of the Planet of the Apes Conquering Friday Box Office

Almost universally positive critical reactions to Fox’s reboot/prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes coupled with a late aggressive advertising push has sparked an increase interest in the film on its opening day.

Last night during midnight showings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes premiered to a strong start by attracting $1.3 million in business. While that’s not in the same league as summer’s biggest blockbusters, it did nearly double the $700,000 put up by Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens a week ago.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes continued to draw moviegoers through Friday with first-day estimates ranging between $12 and $14 million. Early three-day estimates that began around $30 million have now been revised to $35 and $40 million.

If Rise of the Planet of the Apes can top $36 million then it will beat last week’s openings by The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens. Topping the latter would be especially sweet given that film’s budget is $163 million while Apes is significantly lower at $93 million, not to mention James Franco and Freida Pinto’s star power aren’t in nearly the same league as Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

Fox gambled on Rise of the Planet of the Apes by handing a nearly $100 million picture over to a director in Rupert Wyatt who had only helmed two features previously, focusing the film on a CGI-created character who must communicate emotion strictly through facial expressions and body gestures, and attempting a reboot a decade removed from a failed attempt by Tim Burton.

With Rise of the Planet of the Apes thus far proving relevant again, all that’s left is for Fox to green light a sequel that moviegoers who saw it earlier today are already demanding.

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