Box Office: 'Apes 2' Rules Soft Weekend With $36M; 'Sex Tape' Bombs

8:17 AM PST 07/20/2014 by Pamela McClintock

UPDATED: "The Purge: Anarchy" places No. 2 with $28.4M, while "Planes: Fire & Rescue" underwhelms with $18M; Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" quickly morphs into a hit at the specialty box office.

This weekend brought more bad news for the summer box office, with revenue in North America tumbling 24 percent over the same frame last year, as a trio of new films — The Purge: Anarchy, Planes: Fire & Rescue and Sex Tape — all did less business than expected.

Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had no trouble staying at No. 1 in its second weekend, holding better than any previous summer tentpole. The Fox sequel fell 50 percent to $36 million for a domestic total of $139 million. Overseas, Dawn took in another $61 million from 50 markets for a foreign total of $103 million and world cume of $242 million (the sequel staggered its rollout because of the World Cup).

Universal's The Purge: Anarchy came in No. 2 in North America, opening to $28.4 million. While that's the top opening this year for a horror title, the modestly budgeted sequel trailed behind The Purge, which debuted to $34.1 million in June 2013. Anarchy, costing $9 million to make, received a B CinemaScore.

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Nor was Anarchy able to match the $41.8 million debut of New Line's horror film The Conjuring on the same weekend a year ago. The difference helps to explain the year-over-year revenue gap, at least in part. Also, the weekend was left without a pricey summer tentpole when Warner Bros. pushed back the release of Jupiter Ascending to next year.

James DeMonaco returned to write and direct Anarchy, which was produced by Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes. Females made up the majority of the audience (52 percent), while Hispanics represented 36 percent of all ticket buyers.

Universal domestic distribution president Nikki Rocco said she was very happy with Anarchy's opening, considering the troubles at the box office. Also, horror titles in particular have struggled this year. "The way things have been going, I'm glad we did more than $20 million. It's a much more complicated marketplace than when the first Purge opened," she said.

Disney's animated family film Planes: Fire & Rescue, placing No. 3, also did less than its predecessor. Fire & Rescue grossed $18 million domestically, compared to $22 million for Planes, which debuted in August 2013. The sequel, earning an A CinemaScore, cost $50 million to make. Disney is hopeful that the strong grade from audiences will translate into good word of mouth.

Planes: Fire & Rescue is a spinoff of the popular Pixar franchise Cars and produced by DisneyToon Studios. Dane Cook returns to voice the lead character Dusty Crophopper, who joins the world of wildfire air attack in the sequel. Overseas, Fire & Rescue opened to $9 million from 24 territories for a subdued global launch of $27 million.

"It's a little less than I thought we would do, but the movie was made at a great price. We thought we'd be at $20 million. The first movie did four times its opening, and we have no family competition between now and Labor Day, so we'll end up with a great number," said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis.

The news was all-out grim for Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel's new R-rated comedy, Sex Tape. The film debuted at No. 4 with $15 million after receiving dismal reviews and an equally dismal C+ CinemaScore.

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Sex Tape reunites Diaz and Segel with their Bad Teacher director, Jake Kasdan. That comedy, opening to $31.6 million in June 2011, grossed a stellar $216.2 million worldwide (Bad Teacher also earned a C+ CinemaScore).

"We made a sweet, funny romantic comedy with stars that we love, but the title is a little confusing to some folks," said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. "There's definitely a sweetness to it, and we hope we end up being around for a long while. We also have a strong opportunity overseas."

Sex Tape enjoyed a decent opening in Australia, earning $2.4 million. All in all, the movie debuted in nine foreign territories over the weekend for a total $3 million.

Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction rounded out the top five in North America, grossing $10 million in its fourth weekend for a domestic total of $227.2 million. The tentpole remains a juggernaut overseas, earning $81.2 million from 58 territories for an international total of $659.1 million and global haul of $886.3 million — by far the best showing of the year.

Age of Extinction has amassed $285.7 million in China alone. Post-World Cup openings included Brazil and Germany, where the action film took in a strong $16.5 million and $11.9 million, respectively, over the weekend.

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza's documentary America continued to place outside the top 10 in North America, grossing $1.7 million from 1,030 locations in its fourth weekend for a cume of $11.5 million. The film, placing No. 12, is on track to become the No. 6 political documentary of all time, although D'Souza's previous film, 2016: Obama's America, did more business, earning $34.5 million to become the No. 2 political doc of all time.

At the U.S. specialty box office, Richard Linklater's acclaimed drama Boyhood is quickly morphing into a hit. Expanding into a total of 34 theaters, the drama placed No. 15 in its second weekend with a stellar $1.2 million. Boyhood, distributed by IFC Films, has earned a total $1.8 million to date and posted a weekend screen average of $35,320, the best of any film.

Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded project Wish I Was Here struggled in its debut, grossing only $495,000 from 68 locations for a screen average of $7,269. The film, starring Braff, Kate Hudson and Josh Gad, is distributed by Focus Features in the U.S.

Mike Cahill's I Origins likewise fared even worse, debuting to $28,719 from four theaters for a theater average of $7,180. Fox Searchlight is distributing the movie.

Here are the top 10 estimates for the weekend of July 18-July 20 at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Friday Total, Percentage Change, Cume

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, 2/3,969, Fox, $36 million, -50%, $139 million.

2. The Purge: Anarchy, 1/2,805, Universal, $28.4 million.

3. Planes: Fire & Rescue, 1/3,826, Disney, $18 million.

4. Sex Tape, 1/3,062, Sony, $15 million.

5. Transformers: Age of Extinction, 4/3,224, Paramount, $10 million, -39%, $227.2 million.

6. Tammy, 3/3,402, Warner Bros./New Line, $7.6 million, -39%, $71.3 million.

7. 22 Jump Street, 6/2,229, Sony/MGM, $4.7 million, -28%, $180.5 million.

8. How to Train Your Dragon 2, 6/2,169, Fox/DWA, $3.8 million, -37%, $160.7 million.

9. Maleficent, 8/1,541, Disney, $3.3 million, -21%, $228.4 million.

10. Earth to Echo, 3/2,450, Relativity, $3.26 million, -41%, $32 million.

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