Monkey business still pays. War for the Planet of the Apes took down Spider-Man: Homecoming at the box office, opening with an estimated $56.5 million in ticket sales.
Though a closer race was expected initially, Spider-Man dropped to second with $45.2 million after making its debut last weekend with $117 million. Director Matt Reeves’ War for the Planet of the Apes pulled away thanks to strong reviews for the third installment of the rebooted Apes franchise. Led by Andy Serkis’ celebrated motion-capture performance as the ape leader Caesar, War for the Planet of the Apes won a 95% fresh rating from critics on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes.
Apes led something of a summer anomaly: There is an unusual confluence of acclaimed films in release. Five of the top six at the box office (Apes, Spider-Man, Baby Driver, The Big Sick and Wonder Woman) boast Rotten Tomatoes approval ratings of 92% or better, and the sixth (Despicable Me 3) was largely received as a solid-enough family release.
The weekend’s other most notable new entrant was Kumail Nanjiani’s acclaimed romantic comedy The Big Sick, which expanded to about 2,600 theaters after three weeks of limited release. The film, produced by Judd Apatow, made $7.6 million — a rare success for a comedy in a summer full of disappointment.
Horror film Wish Upon was the weekend’s only other new release. It opened with $5.5 million and a dismal C grade from audiences on CinemaScore.
Next weekend may well continue the streak of well-reviewed summer releases. Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller Dunkirk lands in theaters following rapturous early reactions.
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