Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
July 15, 2014
Kim Hollis: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes debuted with $72.6 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Matthew Huntley: Dawn's weekend numbers were very much in line with my personal expectations, and I was happy to see the film met them because it really is as good as the reviews indicate. This is an all-around pleasing blockbuster and I'm glad audiences are spreading the word (hopefully more than I realize, because it'd be great if the film had really long legs).
I think we can attribute its $73 million box office take to a few obvious factors: a) a very prolific marketing campaign (it seems everywhere you turned the past two weeks, there was an ad for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes somewhere); b) a highly praised and well-liked predecessor; c) outstanding critical reception; d) a disappointing last couple weeks. About that last point, I think audiences were so disillusioned by Transformers: Age of Extinction and Tammy, they wanted something--anything--to reinvigorate their hope in Hollywood's lackluster summer. Apes more than suffices.
Edwin Davies: For me, the commercial and critical success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes the lion's share of the credit for this result. We often say that the quality of one film will determine the success of its sequel, and this is a textbook example of that in action. A lot of people saw Rise and were impressed by it, and it ended at a point that suggested a more intense and action-packed continuation. The ads for Dawn highlighted the conflict between apes and humans, establishing that while this was definitely the next stage in the story of Caesar, it was not going to be a simple retread. All of that, coupled with the great reviews, convinced people that Dawn was worth seeing in the theater on opening weekend. Hopefully the word-of-mouth will help it to prosper over the coming weeks, rather than falling foul of the big opening, rapid drop-off problem that's afflicted pretty much every big blockbuster this summer.
Jay Barney: I think this is an outstanding result. The first part of the equation for me is always the numbers. By that measure Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is going to be very successful, as it is easily going to make its money back. I think it has a fine chance of passing $200 million in domestic theaters and the money should work out real well with overseas markets. With this opening, $200 million might seem a bit low, but the box office has not exactly been on fire lately, and even some of the hotter films this summer have struggled to attain that much. So I guess I am going to keep my estimates conservative for now, but even with that 20th Century Fox is going to see a hefty profit.
There is no question that audiences embraced one of the more thought provoking and "iffy" sci-fi concepts, and I have an idea about why. There is something to be said about story; that movie goers will pay good money to watch compelling characters involved in a fairly believable sequence of events. Franchises like Star Trek and Planet of the Apes are ingrained in our cultural history, yes, but early versions of those were embraced by people who were science fiction fans. They did branch out and became partially mainstream, but the special effects have added so much to how some of these science fiction stories can be told.