‘Planet of the Apes’ Powers Past ‘The Purge’ Sequel for Repeat Win at Box Office (Video)

The Cameron Diaz-Jason Segel comedy “Sex Tape” underwhelms and finishes behind “Planes 2” with $15 million

Moviegoers this weekend continued to hail Caesar, as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” rolled to a $36 million repeat victory at the box office, holding off a challenge from the low-budget horror sequel “The Purge: Anarchy.”

Fox's sci-fi saga of the charismatic leaders of the apes, played by motion-capture whiz Andy Serkis, has captivated critics and that, coupled with strong word of mouth, drove the big second weekend. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has taken in $139 million domestically, and is just the second No. 1 film to hold its title for more than a week this summer, along with “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Universal's “The Purge: Anarchy” came in second with a $28.3 million opening weekend, or three times its $9 million production budget, and easily outstripped the other two wide openers. Disney's animated “Planes: Fire and Rescue” finished third with $18 million, ahead of Sony's Cameron Diaz-Jason Segel comedy “Sex Tape,” which disappointed with $15 million for fourth.

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Despite three new movies, overall business was down again. The weekend was off roughly 25 percent from the same frame last year. The summer continues to sputter and is around 20 percent behind last year's record-breaking haul.

“Apes,” which remains at 91 percent positive on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and is still in a market-high 3,969 theaters, showed impressive staying power. Its second-week haul fell just 51 percent from its $72.6 million opening last week; recent champs “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Godzilla,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” all dropped off by more than 60 percent.

“The Purge: Anarchy” didn't match the $34 million breakout performance by last summer's original, but the thriller from Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes is a big win given its modest budget. It's the best opening for a horror film this year, and the first since last September to open to more than $20 million.

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Hardcore fans turned out in droves on Thursday night and Friday to power “Anarchy,” written and directed like the first film by James DeMonaco, to first place on Friday with $13 million. But it was overwhelmed by “Apes,” which played more broadly on Saturday and took in nearly $15 million.

Hispanics provided a huge boost for “The Purge: Anarchy,” making up 36 percent of the audience, which was 52 percent female and 61 percent under the age of 25. It received a “B” CinemaScore.

The showing is also impressive because “Anarchy,” which starred Frank Grillo, had less star-power than the first film, which featured Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey.

“We played very well in urban areas throughout the country,” said Universal's distribution chief Nikki Rocco. “This was a better movie than the first film, and that's why the crowds came out.”

See Photos: 11 of Cameron Diaz's Biggest Box Office Hits and Misses (Photos)

The R-rated “Sex Tape” came in well under the expectations of analysts, who had predicted an opening in the mid-$20 million range for the comedy, which reunited the “Bad Teacher” team of Diaz, Segel and director Jake Kasdan.

Savaged by the critics, “Sex Tape” finished with less than half of the $31 million opening weekend of that film, and well under the $24 million debut of April's “The Other Woman,” another R-rated comedy starring Diaz.

Given the $40 million production budget of “Sex Tape,” it's not a financial disaster for Sony, which is hoping the comedy performs well overseas and finds an audience in the next couple of weeks. That could be tricky, since the word of mouth won't be great. The older (52 percent over 30) and female (53 percent) skewing audience gave the film a weak “C+” CinemaScore.

“Planes: Fire & Rescue,” a spinoff of the Pixar franchise “Cars” produced by Disney Toon Studios, drew a crowd that was 78 percent families. They loved the story of Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) and gave it an “A” CinemaScore.

Also read: ‘Planes 2' Taking Flight in Bummer Year for Animated Movies at Box Office

“Planes 2” is off to a slower start than the original, which opened with $22 million last August and went on to take in $220 million worldwide. But like the first film, it was made for a modest $50 million, so the threshold for profitability is relatively low.

Paramount's global blockbuster “Transformers: The Age of Extinction” finished fifth with $10 million and lifted its domestic total to $227 million after four weeks. Michael Bay‘s morphing bots epic, a Chinese co-production, added another $81 million from abroad this weekend and has taken in $659 million internationally – $285 million from China alone.

Two R-rated comedies, Melissa McCarthy's “Tammy” ($7.3 million) and “22 Jump Street” ($4.6 million) were next. The Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill romp is up to $180 million domestically for Sony.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2,” Disney's “Maleficent” and the kids film “Earth to Echo” rounded out the top ten. “Dragon 2” is at $160 million for DreamWorks Animation.

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