'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Is a Hit Already

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes conquered the box office on Friday taking in more than $27 million when combined with late Thursday night viewings. The follow-up to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was bolstered by excellent reviews from critics and the lack of any other newly arrived wide-release competition.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is on track to pull in more than $70 million over the weekend, making it more initially successful than the first installment, which brought in $54.8 million during its debut weekend. With that kind of lead-in, the film, which reportedly cost north of $170 million, should easily dwarf Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ $481.8 million haul before it bows out of the Top 10.

The plot unfolds about ten years after most of the world has been wiped out and revolves around Caesar (brought to life by Andy Serkis) and his colony of apes and their uneasy coexistence with a remnant of human survivors. Variety’s film critic Guy Lodge praised the writing, calling it,

An altogether smashing sequel to 2011′s better-than-expected “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this vivid, violent extension of humanoid ape Caesar’s troubled quest for independence bests its predecessor in nearly every technical and conceptual department, with incoming helmer Matt Reeves conducting the proceedings with more assertive genre elan than “Rise” journeyman Rupert Wyatt.

Unfortunately, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' weekend win doesn't exactly mean the rest of the box office is faring well: Though Michael Bay’s fourth Transformers installment, Age of Extinction, came in second place and should pass the $200 million mark this weekend stateside, in third place is Melissa McCarthy’s comedy Tammy which only pulled in $4.1 million on Friday. For a summer weekend, these are hardly good numbers.

There is some good news though, at least for independent cinema: the film that was shot over a 12-year-period, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, arrived in just five theaters this weekend and has already pulled in more than $102,161 since Friday.