The apes have conquered the multiplex.
Fueled by great word of mouth, 20th Century Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened to $54 million at the domestic box office—$20 million more than the best forecast. Rise of the Apes is particularly drawing notice for its photo-realistic apes, which were created by Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital using advanced performance capture technology. Andy Serkis plays the ape Caesar, and is the movie’s lead character.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Apes successfully relaunches the cult sci-fi franchise, and is a big win for the filmmakers and Fox’s marketing operation. Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested that the movie—also starring James Franco, Frida Pinto and John Lithgow--would open to $30 million to $35 million, tops.
But the movie received an A- CinemaScore, in addition to garnering rave reviews, and is appealing to all age groups. More women than expected turned out, making up 44 percent of the audience, according to exit polls. The origins pic was down only 2% from Friday to Saturday.
Rise of the Apes also is a big win for Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark’s Chernin Entertainment, since it’s the company’s first title. The movie, made for $93 million, was co-financed by Fox, Dune Entertainment and Ingenious. The weekend's other new offering, Universal's R-rated Ryan Reynolds-Jason Bateman body switching comedy The Change-Up, didn’t fare as well, grossing a soft $13.5 million and coming in No. 4.
Directed by David Dobkins, Change-Up entered a saturated market for raunchy comedies, and scored the lowest opening of the summer for its genre. The movie only received a B CinemaScore, and played older, with 50% of the audience over the age of 30. Universal and Relativity Media co-financed Change-Up, which cost $52 million to produce. Sony’s surprise hit The Smurfs stayed strong in its second weekend, declining less than 42% to an estimated $21 million for a domestic cume of $76.2 million. The 3D kids pic placed No. 2. Universal and DreamWorks’ Cowboys & Aliens continued to struggle in its second outing, trailing Smurfs and grossing $15.8 million for a domestic total of $67.4 million. The movie fell 57%, a big drop considering the film is playing best to an older audience. Adult-skewing films generally build momentum, and see minimal drops if they are working.
Cure for a deadly disease
Rise of the planet of the apes alzheimer's disease. Rise of the Planet of the Apes positions itself as the origin story for the entire Apes franchise. Set in present day San Francisco; Scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) leads a medical laboratory attempting to cure Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to primate experimentation. In the process it leads to increased intelligence in the primate test subjects and triggers a series of events that leads to a confrontation between humans and apes for the rule of the Planet.
I’ll go out of my way to say that I’m a big fan of the original Schaffner Planet of the Apes (1968) but I’ll also say that the sequels never really captured my imagination like the original film. So the prospect of Rise for me initially felt like an attempt to cash in on an iconic franchise. However, from the moment I saw the snippets of Weta-manufactured footage of Serkis mo-cap (motion capture) performing the lead ape role of Caesar I was utterly transfixed.
Franco’s Will is desperate to find a cure for Alzheimer’s because his father Charles (John Lithgow) is suffering and rapidly deteriorating before his eyes. Will discovers that an experimental strain may be ready to proceed when a lab accident causes most of the apes to be put down – all but one, Caesar (Andy Serkis). Will discovers that the increased intelligence that was demonstrated by his primate mother has genetically passed to Caesar and he keeps him in secret, to see the limits of his compound in advancing the primate’s intelligence and begins illegally trialling the drug on his father. I can’t really give too much more away without ruining the entire film – so I’ll keep quiet from here. Suffice to say there are a hell of a lot of references to the original series in this one – some overt and some subtle; fans will enjoy those little titbits.
There is a natural impulse or uncontrollable impulse to pick any CGI ‘fakery’ in a film. It is one of the biggest roadblocks in suspending our disbelief long enough to enjoy a film with a lot of CGI. I really want to commend WETA for affording me (and look you may be different so sorry if you could not) the opportunity, by way of awesome digital effects, to enjoy the CGI and really get lost in another amazing performance by Serkis. The work they did to make really rich expressive eyes for Caesar and the greater primate population is sensational. Every element of Caesar’s journey is perfectly physically portrayed. This film really rides on the audience being attached to an Ape protagonist; although Will (Franco) leads us into the story, as the film progresses he moves to the sideline. Franco is really excellent in parts of this film, but in other parts he seems to lose the motivation to be invested in the delivery. This could be directorial or script factors, but his performance doesn’t stand among Milk, 127 Hours or Pineapple Express. Lithgow is an actor that I think is good in anything that he does (see Dexter Series 4 to be truly blown away). He performs solidly throughout the rollercoaster of his disease and Will’s experimental treatment. Tyler Labine is a name that you’re going to hear more of; he’s a rising star of sorts. His role is small but absolutely integral as the ape handler Franklin. Dodge Landon (Tom Felton) is in ‘Malfoy’ mode here but in an unforgiving environment. He get’s some of the key scenes and lines in the flick – and does them justice. Pinto’s Caroline is really just a passenger – that increases the female quota in the film.
I’ll do have to give special mention to Wyatt’s direction – because all of the actors are interacting with CGI apes but in tangible physical spaces, which seems to assist their performances. Wyatt also uses some really great classical trickery – which you can see in the trailer as the apes make their way through the treetops.
In any film that you see, you hope that there is at least one moment that makes it worth the price of your ticket. In Rise, there is a moment that nearly blew me out of my seat. It made total sense, but also surprised the hell out of me – it emphasised that sonic reception of the movie is essential to really enjoy a film and for that one moment I’m going to watch it again and again. This is one of the last of the summer films and has rocketed up the charts to be in my top five blockbuster flicks this year. It does justice to the franchise and had me rushing home to watch the original series in its entirety.
James FrancoJames franco wizard of oz prequel. The story and characters of Oz might be sacred to most, but James Franco says the big screen prequel to the iconic story - "Oz: The Great And Powerful" - will satisfy fans while putting a new spin on the classic tale.
"It's going very, very well," he said of the Sam Raimi-directed Oz movie, while promoting his current movie, "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes," in Los Angeles on Sunday. "I've been in Detroit for almost a month now and we were rehearsing for quite a while and we've been shooting for about a week and it's going very, very well," he told Access. "I am playing the Wizard of Oz, but if you'll remember, the Wizard in the original 1939 film is an older man, so it's another great opportunity to kind of do a new rendition on a franchise or a tradition, but it's in a fresh way."
The 33-year-old actor understands the importance of appeasing the story's massive fan base, but since this story is a prequel, James said some of the rules go out the window. "There are no real expectations of how the younger version of Oz should be," he explained. "I do follow a tradition, but I also have a certain amount of freedom to create the character." As for what a young Wizard of Oz will look like, James said picture him super retro!
"The original book came out in 1900," he told Access, "A lot of it will kind of take place a 100 years ago, so if you can imagine that kind of suit." "Oz: The Great And Powerful," also starring Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams - is slated to hit theaters in 2013.