Last night, 20th Century Fox’s sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell and Kodi Smit-McPhee, opened in a number of theaters nationwide for 10 p.m. and midnight screenings, and it’s now being reported that those early preview screenings took in $4.1 million.
This is a substantial leap over the $1.4 million made by its predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, when it opened three summers back, and that went on to gross $54.8 million its opening weekend on its way to grossing $177 million domestic and another $305 million internationally.
Other more recent comparisons include Disney’s Maleficent, which opened to $69.4 million after $4.2 million in Thursday previews. Summit Entertainment’s Divergent did $4.9 million in Thursday night previews but only $54.6 million its opening weekend and 20th Century Fox’s The Wolverine did $4 million in previews and $53.1 million its opening weekend.
This is a far cry from the $8 to 10 million in Thursday previews by previous summer movies like Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Transformers: Age of Extinction, all of which opened over $90 million.
Now one would hope that the critical acclaim for “Dawn” and early buzz will help it sustain itself so that it can do better than the $53 to 55 million opening that The Wolverine ended up with. For instance, “Dawn” has achieved a 92% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes compared to “Rise’s” 82% Fresh.
Still, it looks doubtful it will be able to reach $70 million this weekend and it’s more than likely to end up in the $62 to 67 million range depending on word of mouth and how moviegoers are affected by the weather in their general area. Saturday and Sunday are the last two games of the World Cup but that’s roughly two to three hours each day, giving plenty of time for people to check out the new “Apes” movie.
And once you do, make sure to check back here and let us know what you think!