Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
August 8, 2011
Dance, monkey, dance!
Kim Hollis: Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened to $54.8 million despite having no Tim Burton and no true box office draw. How did this film pull it off?
Brett Beach: I may be alone in my degree of astonishment, but when I first heard this announced nine months ago, my singular thought was "why isn't this going direct to video? Why is Fox risking the embarassment of a big-screen release?" James Franco's involvement (though I do love him) also puzzled me. I am probably as surprised as anyone at the great reviews for this ("thoughtful" and "intelligent" tossed around more than once) and the fact that it may indeed kickstart the franchise. I was among the minions who saw Burton's take opening weekend and wished to God I had those two hours back.
As for why $50-million plus? Perhaps the origin story of the Apes, which had never before been attempted in the 45 year history of the franchise, actually held a lot of interest for people. Although the story and reviews and positive buzz still don't sway me, I am also gathering that there must have been some solid reaction to the shots in the trailer (ape flying at helicopter) and the acknowledged prowess of the visual effects. And maybe, just maybe, Andy Serkis has the Midas touch.
Tim Briody: It helped that it didn't look campy at all, which every Planet of the Apes film has. Plus, as Brett alludes to, it did have the hook of "how exactly did the Apes take over?" rather than placing the film well after that had happened and giving us the twist that it was Earth all along at the end.
Joshua Pasch: I am at least as astonished as Brett. I had this pegged as a $25-30 million opener - below industry tracking even. I tend to be a sucker for a lot of summer entertainment, and I found the trailer to have a few solid shots (I'd actually peg that ape overlooking the bed as the real winner). But even still, I wasn't rushing out to see it. This remake/prequel just felt unnecessary. The trailers didn't play too well in the theaters earlier in the summer, and I'm pretty sure I heard a good number of stifled laughs when the overtly redundant title "Rise of the Planet of the..." came up on the screen.
Alas, it appears this is a case of solid filmmaking applied to campy territory, and I'll have to catch it before it exits theaters.