Box Office: 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Rides to $5M Thursday

The third installment in the intelligent ape franchise will battle with holdover 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' for the No. 1 spot.

Caesar and his clan of intelligent apes rode back into theaters Thursday night, with War for the Planet of the Apes earning $5 million in previews at 3,251 theaters.

The second installment in Fox and Chernin's franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, earned $4.1 million in previews in July 2014 on its way to a $72.6 million domestic debut (it eventually earned $710.6 million worldwide). The first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, debuted in 2011 to $54.8 million and eventually earned $481.8 million globally.

War for the Planet of the Apes is tracking to launch to $55 million or more, which would put it in a tight race with holdover Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sony and Marvel Studios' Spidey reboot starring Tom Holland could fall only 50 percent in its sophomore outing, which would mean a weekend tally of $58.5 million. But if it declines 55 percent or more, it will land in the low $50 million range.

The threequel sees Andy Serkis returning to play the ape leader Caesar, and stars Woody Harrelson as a military leader determined to take down the intelligent apes. As the survival of his kind continues to be threatened, Caesar attempts to move his clan to safety.

Also opening wide this weekend is horror film Wish Upon , which is tracking to debut to less than $5 million. From Broad Green Pictures and Orion, the movie stars Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Elisabeth Rohm, Ki Hong Lee and Shannon Purser. The story centers on a young girl whose every wish comes true, along with terrifying consequences, after she's given a music box by her father.