Box Office Report: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Tops Friday Box Office With Outstanding $19.8 Mil

11:19 PM PST 08/05/2011 by Pamela McClintock
WETA Digital

UPDATED: The origins pic is now racing for $50 million opening; Ryan Reynolds-Jason Bateman raunchy comedy “The Change-Up” only grosses $4.7 million.

Moviegoers went bananas for 20th Century Fox’s critically acclaimed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which grossed a robust $19.8 million at the Friday box office.

The origins pic now has a shot at a $50 million opening, exceeded all expectations. Heading into the weekend, tracking showed it grossing $30 million to $35 million tops, but word of mouth is changing the forecast.

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Moviegoers sided with critics in giving Rise of the Apes an A-. The film appealed to all age groups, and more women than expected turned out, making up 44 percent of the audience.

The film — headlining Andy Serkis as the ape Casesar — looks like it is successfully relaunching the classic sci-fi franchise, and is a big win for Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark’s Chernin Entertainment, since it’s the company’s first film.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt and also starring James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow, Apes is especially whipping up buzz for the photo-realistic apes, which were created by Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital using advanced performance capture technology.

The film, made for $93 million, was co-financed by Fox, Dune Entertainment and Ingenious.

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Rise of the Apes earned $1.3 million in midnight runs, nearly double the $700,000 earned in midnight grosses last week by Cowboys & Aliens.

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Universal's R-rated body switching comedy The Change-Up, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, underperformed, grossing $4.7 million on Friday.

Directed by David Dobkins, the comedy is now forecasted to open to a tepid $13.4 million, a rare miss for an R-rated comedy, a genre which as been booming at the box office.

Change-Up all but tied with Universal and DreamWorks’ Cowboy & Aliens, which fell 64% on its second Friday.

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Both Change-Up and Cowboy were trounced by Sony’s surprise hit The Smurfs, which grossed $6 million Friday for a domestic cume of $61.2 million. Smurfs placed No. 2.

Sony’s holdover The Smurfs remained a strong contender, coming in No. 2 for the day and grossing an estimated $5.7 million.

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Sony’s holdover The Smurfs remained a strong contender, coming in No. 2 for the day and grossing an estimated $5.7 million.

Universal and DreamWorks’ Cowboys & Aliens tumbled more than 60 percent, grossing roughly $4.7 million, although it’s possible Change-Up could pull ahead of Cowboys once final Friday numbers are calculated.

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