May 24, 2017

“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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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, 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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