Box-Office Preview: 'Purge,' 'Planes' Sequels Face Off Against 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

A trio of new offerings — a horror sequel, a raunchy comedy and an animated family film — will face off against Fox's hit holdover Dawn of the Planet of the Apes over the July 18 weekend. 

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The Purge: Anarchy and the Jason Segel-Cameron Diaz comedy Sex Tape could both attract as much as $30 million each in their debuts, but that may not be enough to unseat Fox's ape drama Dawn.

The Purge: Anarchy, the follow-up to the 2013 horror hit, opens in 3,303 theaters in North America, and tracking suggests it will earn between $27 million and $30 million in its debut. Frank Grillo stars in the R-rated film, which is set in a society where, for 24 hours, all crime is legal.

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.

However, the sequel is opening on a notably more competitive weekend, which could keep it from the box-office take that the original enjoyed. But with a budget of just $9 million, the film will be considered a strong performer if it grosses anything over $20 million in its debut frame.

James DeMonaco returned to write and direct the Universal sequel, which is produced by Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes.

Sony's comedy Sex Tape, reuniting Bad Teacher co-stars Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz with director Jake Kasdan, should gross around $30 million in its North American debut. Opening in more than 3,060 theaters, the R-rated comedy follows a couple whose homemade sex tape accidentally ends up on all of their friends' and family's iPads. Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Jack Black and Rob Lowe also star.

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Kate Angelo, Segel and Nicholas Stoller wrote the script from a story by Angelo. The film, from Columbia Pictures, Media Rights Capital, LStar Capital and Escape Artists Production, is produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch.

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

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.

Produced by DisneyToon Studios, the 3D sequel, which is rated PG, stars the voices of Dane Cook, Julie Bowen and Teri Hatcher and follows Cook's air racer Dusty Crophopper as he joins the world of wildfire air attack.

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The three new wide releases may all fall behind holdover Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which had a stellar U.S. opening last weekend with $72.6 million in box office.

Directed by Matt Reeves, the tentpole starring Andy Serkis as intelligent ape Caesar has been one of the best-reviewed blockbusters of the summer. Experts say the film could bring in another $35 million this weekend.

In limited release, Focus is releasing Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded project. The film, starring Braff, Kate Hudson and Josh Gad, will open in 68 theaters in North America and expand into additional theaters and markets on the weekend of July 25 and beyond.

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

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