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The apes rose over the weekend, and lots of people paid for the privilege of seeing mankind take its first fall down the evolutionary ladder, with Rupert Wyatt’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” prequel pawing its way to first place in its debut, taking in a studio estimated $54 million. The sci-fi drama soundly beat its only studio competition, the male body switching comedy “The Change-Up”, which opened in fourth place with $13 million, losing out to both “The Smurfs” and “Cowboys and Aliens”, both of whom were in their second weeks on the chart.
Made for a surprisingly cheap $93 million (by Hollywood studio standards), Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has already cleared more than half of its production budget in its first week. The film opened with strong reviews, and currently maintains an 81% freshness rating at Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. “The Change-Up”, meanwhile, didn’t wow moviegoers or critics, and currently has a 20% freshness rating. I was never a particularly big fan of the body switching genre, but I thought the film did what it wanted to do, and did it pretty well. The bad reviews are a shocker, and the poor box office doubly so.
The biggest loser here is Ryan Reynolds, whose movie leading man status is taking a pretty big hit in 2011, first with the disappointing “Green Lantern” and now, the underwhelming “The Change-Up”. He better hope his upcoming actioner “Safe House” with Denzel Washington and the comic book movie “R.I.P.D.” do better business, lest studio chiefs start believing that Reynolds can’t open a movie, which, let me remind you, would pretty much spell doom for the chance of a “Deadpool” movie. At this point, it seems that the only person who wants to make a “Deadpool” movie is Reynolds, and if he keeps putting out bombs, that’s not going to happen.
Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” has made $219 million in worldwide box office after three weeks of release, while Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys and Aliens” continues to flounder with $67 million after two weeks in theaters. The Western/sci-fi mashup has still to open overseas, so there’s still a chance it could recoup its estimated $163 million production budget, though the chances that it’ll eventually turn a profit, at this point, seems far-fetched. Kinda like cowboys battling high-tech aliens and winning, natch.