Alfonso Cuarón tells a deeply personal story with absolute precision in "Roma"                "Creed II" is an outstanding sequel and one of the year's best films                Strong showings for "Eighth Grade" and "You Were Never Really Here" highlight the Independent Spirit Award nominations                Review: Round-Up: "At Eternity's Gate", "The Clovehitch Killer", "Jonathan", and "The Last Race"                "Green Book" is a crowd pleaser of the highest order and a definite Oscar contender                Steve McQueen and a phenomenal ensemble cast help make "Widows" look effortless                "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" offers something for every type of Coen Brothers fan                Updated Academy Award predictions for early November                Review Round-Up: "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch", "El Angel" "The Long Dumb Road", and "Outlaw King"                Taking a look at potential Best Documentary Feature contenders                "The Front Runner" is a terrific and timely film for right around Election Day                Hollywood Film Awards Marked the Launch of Awards Season                Taking a first crack at Golden Globe predictions                “The Favourite” and “The Front Runner”: Films to see in November                Awkwafina to Host 22nd Hollywood Film Awards        

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

By Sean O’Connell 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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