October 22, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

“Apes” rises to the challenge while “Change-Up” slips

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Solid reviews and positive word of mouth have helped Rupert Wyatt’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” swing to a better-than-expected Friday, setting the stage for what could be a big win for 20th Century Fox when actuals are announced on Monday.

Wyatt’s “Rise,” which documents how a scientist (James Franco) hoping to cure Alzheimer’s, unleashes a breed of super-intelligent apes, nabbed an estimated $18 million on Friday, forcing analysts to adjust predictions and put “Apes” in a $45-million range for the weekend.

Read our exclusive interview with “Apes” star Andy Serkis right here!

THR notes that the film “was playing well across the country, including among various ethnic groups,” reiterated that it was “drawing rave reviews, particularly for the photo-realistic apes,” and commented that audiences “agreed with critics in liking the movie, and gave it an A- CinemaScore, according to Friday night exit polls.”

Universal’s “The Change-Up” wasn’t nearly as lucky, despite an aggressive publicity push by stars Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman in the days leading up to the film’s release.

David Dobkin’s body-switching comedy “underperformed,” according to THR, by posting an estimated $4.5 million on Friday.

Given how successful similar R-rated comedies have done this summer, from “The Hangover” to Bateman’s own “Horrible Bosses,” Universal no doubt expected bigger things from “Change-Up,” which now likely will finish in the low-teens, if it’s lucky.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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