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How many monkeys...sorry, apes...does it take to make a Planet of the Apes prequel? About $93 million worth. And that's a small price tag for a movie where a vast majority of the shots include at least one, and often dozens, of CGI chimps, gorillas or orangutans. And it's partly thanks to that relatively modest budget that Rise of the Planet of the Apes can expect to become a profitable movie this summer. The film banked a solid $54 million as the number one entry this weekend.
Slightly less financially promising was the raunch-com's answer to Freaky Friday, The Change-Up. Despite promising lots of naked women and a fair amount of infant feces flung in Jason Bateman's face (or perhaps because of it) the movie settled for an unimpressive fourth place this weekend with only $13 million against its $52 million budget. That's surprisingly low given that other rated-R comedies this summer have fared far better (Friends with Benefits opened at $18 million and Horrible Bosses debuted with $28 million). At this point the movie's only hope for getting out of the red is international ticket sales. Here's hoping Europeans find Bateman's diarrhea facial more appealing.
After duking it out last weekend for the number one spot, The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens settled into their true pecking order. Despite having less plot, less action, less Olivia Wilde and less shirtless Daniel Craig, Smurfs had more pull with audiences, dropping only 41% this weekend from last and easily taking the number two spot with $21 million. Cowboys and Aliens slipped a bit more, landing in third with just $15 million.
Bloated ticket prices and a string of popular blockbusters sent the box office flying during the month of July. The $1.4 billion patrons spent on tickets last month made it the biggest month ever on record. But despite the boost overall this year's sales are still down compared to the same time last year. It's going to take more than one bumper month to pull the box office out of its ongoing slump.
For the full weekend box office top ten, check out the chart below: