Box Office: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Dominates the Weekend's Newcomers

Although three new wide releases are hitting the multiplex this weekend, Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" will rule atop the chart for the second weekend in a row. The early estimates, based on matinee performances, suggest that director Matt Reeves' simian sequel should take in about $10 million or so for the day, which should then contribute to a three-day domestic tally in the mid-$30 million range. Last weekend, the film commanded $72.6 million at the domestic box office.

The Purge: Anarchy, Universal's sequel to the 2013 horror hit, took in a solid $2.6 million at late shows on Thursday while Sony's comedy Sex Tape took in $1.1 million.

As Friday progressed, Purge was looking like the stronger of the two R-rated films. Including it's late-show cash, the second Purge film was ahead to an opening day gross of $12-15 million, which would put its weekend total somewhere around the $30 million mark, give or take a million.

Sex, on the other hand, wasn't selling quite as strongly. Including its Thursday previews, its first-day gross was adding up to about $7-8 million. That, in turn, could translate to an opening weekend a notch or two above the $20 million mark.

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The weekend's other newcomer, Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue, flew to $450,000 from its Thursday showings. Its opening day gross also appeared to be headed into the $7-9 million range, with an eventual weekend take that could hover around the $20 million.

Opening at 8 p.m. in 2,194 theaters on Thursday, The Purge: Anarchy wasn't able to hit the same stellar number as last year's breakout hit, which took in $3.4 million beginning at 10 p.m. But it was a solid start for the $9 million film as it headed into the weekend.

Last summer, the first Purge film, made for $3 million, was a surprise hit, grossing $34.1 million, more than 11 times its microbudget, over its first weekend. Starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, the movie went on to earn $89.3 million worldwide.

James DeMonaco returned to write and direct the Universal sequel, which is produced by Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes. Frank Grillo stars in the sequel, which is set in a society where, for 24 hours, all crime is legal.

Sex Tape reunites Bad Teacher co-stars Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz with director Jake Kasdan, but since that film opened at midnight, Sony is using other recent comedies to assess Sex Tape's performance.

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Its $1.1 million late-night take after opening at 7 p.m. in 2,457 theaters falls just below We're the Millers' $1.7 million at 8 p.m. debut, and around The Heat's $1 million, although that film opened at 10 p.m.

The film, from Columbia Pictures, Media Rights Capital, LStar Capital and Escape Artists Production, is produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch. The comedy follows a couple whose homemade sex tape accidentally ends up on all of their friends' and family's iPads.

Bad Teacher, which opened in June 2011, earned $31.6 million in its debut and went on to gross $216.2 million worldwide.

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Disney's animated sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue, is also hitting theaters, aiming to nab parents and families looking for a more kid-friendly option.

Insiders expect the sequel to perform similarly to the first film, which was a spinoff of the popular Pixar franchise Cars. It opened in August 2013 with $22.2 million in its U.S. debut and went on to earn $219.8 million worldwide.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford

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