Box Office: ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ Climbs to No. 1 With $58 Million Debut

UPDATED: Primates ruled over the North American box office, as “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” collected $58.5 million in its first weekend of release.

That’s ahead of Sunday’s estimates of $56.8 million and enough to score the third-best opening of the year behind “Dune: Part Two” ($82 million) and “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” ($80 million).

More from Variety

Inaugural sales for “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” landed above early projections of $50 million to $55 million and towered over the nonexistent competition. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” opened roughly even with two of the three prior installments in the rebooted franchise, landing behind only 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (a series-best $72 million) and ahead of 2017’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” ($56.2 million) and 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” ($54.8 million).

“The weekend figure is roughly average for the genre, but average here is based on the biggest action films of all time,” says David A. Gross of movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “This is an excellent opening.”

An opening that’s in line with projections is great and all, but Gross says the exhibition industry is still waiting for “something to jolt the market and electrify summer moviegoing.”

Right now, the domestic box office is down roughly 22% from 2023 and 42% from 2019, according to Comscore. Over the next few months, theater owners are relying on tentpoles like “Deadpool & Wolverine,” “Despicable Me 4” and “Inside Out 2” to crush expectations and salvage the summer season.

“The solid performance of ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ is a key building block in the summer season box office,” says senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian, adding the film could be a “momentum booster to the many wide release films set to hit the multiplex in the coming weeks.”

The newest film in the long-running “Apes” series cost $160 million to produce (less than the two prior $190 million-budgeted films) and, like its predecessors, is expected to be bigger at the international box office. The film debuted to $72.5 million overseas, bringing its global tally to a solid $131 million.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” the fourth installment in the reimagined property and 10th in the 56-year-old series, hasn’t been as widely embraced as its predecessors. But critics and audiences have responded positively to the film, which holds an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and “B” on CinemaScore. Directed by Wes Ball, this “Apes” story takes place many, many years after the reign of Caesar (the revolutionary leader played by Andy Serkis) and follows a young ape named Noa (Owen Teague) as he embarks on a journey with a human named Mae (Freya Allan) to forge a path for the future of the two species.

With “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” as this weekend’s only major newcomer, holdover titles rounded out box office charts. Last weekend’s champion “The Fall Guy” landed in a distant second place with $13.7 million, an expected 51% decline from its debut. So far, the action-comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt has grossed $49.6 million domestically and $103 million worldwide. “The Fall Guy” cost a hefty $140 million, so it’s relying on interest at the international box office to stick the landing and redeem its theatrical run.

Zendaya’s sexy tennis drama “Challengers” remained at No. 3 with $4.6 million from 2,609 theaters. After three weekends of release, director Luca Guadagnino’s film has generated $38 million in North America and $68.7 million worldwide. That’s a decent result for an R-rated arthouse drama. However, “Challengers” was backed by Amazon MGM and, at a cost of $55 million, wasn’t budgeted like an indie. It needs a long life in theaters to justify its price tag before landing on the streamer.

In fourth place, Sony and Screen Gem’s low-budget horror film “Tarot” collected $3.4 million in its second weekend of release. “Tarot,” a supernatural story about friends who unleash evil from a cursed deck of tarot cards, has amassed $12 million in North America and $20 million globally. But it cost just $8 million, so it’s well positioned in its big-screen stint.

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” rounded out the top five with $2.5 million from 2,531 venues. The monster tentpole, from Warner Bros. and Legendary, has impressively remained in the top five for seven consecutive weekends and has grossed $191 million domestically and $558.8 million globally to date. It’s the second-highest grossing movie of the year behind another Warner Bros. and Legendary collaboration, “Dune: Part Two” ($708 million).

Elsewhere, the divine parody “Not Another Church Movie” cratered with a dismal $360,000 from 1,108 North American locations. The film, released by Briarcliff Entertainment and starring Kevin Daniels, Vivica A. Fox and Jamie Foxx as God, holds a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes — which didn’t bode well for its theatrical life.

“With no marketing support,” says Gross, “comparisons [to other films in the genre] are not going to be favorable.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.