Box Office Update: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Headed for $53 Mil Opening

Twentieth Century Fox

The origins pic has successfully relaunched the classic sci-fi franchise in a big win for Fox and Peter Chernin.

Moviegoers continued to flock to 20th Century Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes on Saturday, guaranteeing a better-than-expected opening of $53 million at the domestic box office.

The origins pic -- headlining Andy Serkis as the ape Caesar -- was down only 3% from Friday for a gross of $19.2 million, indicating strong word of mouth.

Rise of the Apes is exceeding all expectations, and breathes new life into the cult sci-fi franchise. Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested that the movie would open to $30 million to $35 million, tops.

But the movie received an A- CinemaScore, in addition to garnering rave reviews, and is appealing to all age groups. More women than expected turned out, making up 44 percent of the audience, according to exit polls.

REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Apes is a big win for Fox, as well as Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark’s Chernin Entertainment, since it’s the company’s first title.

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 on Thursday, nearly double the $700,000 earned in midnight grosses last week by Cowboys & Aliens.

The weekend's other new offering, Universal's R-rated Ryan Reynolds-Jason Bateman comedy The Change-Up, isn't faring as well, and looks to gross a soft $14 million for the weekend, notably less than the summer's other raunchy comedies.