‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Marches Toward $57 Million Opening

The “Planet of the Apes” reboot threequel will take the No. 1 spot from “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” will take the top box office spot from Columbia’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” this weekend, with the reboot threequel currently pegged by industry estimates for a $57.5 million opening weekend after making $22 million on Friday from 4,022 screens.

That opening is right in the middle of both studio and independent pre-weekend projection ranges, which were set at $55-60 million. While that number is higher than the $54.6 million made in 2011 by “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” it’s down 23 percent from the $72 million made in 2014 by the sequel, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

Still, strong word of mouth could help bump up numbers for “War.” The film received an A- on CinemaScore, same as “Rise” and “Dawn,” and it has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any “Planet of the Apes” film with 93 percent. A similar Saturday/Sunday bump was seen in March with another primate-starring film, “Kong: Skull Island.” That movie made $16.4 million on Friday (not including $3.7 million in Thursday previews) and then took a 45 percent Friday-to-Saturday bump with $23.8 million, giving it a higher-than-expected $61 million bow.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” will take second with an estimated $48 million in its second weekend, down about 59 percent from its $117 million opening. A second-weekend drop-off of 55-60 percent is par for the course for Marvel films that earn $100 million-plus openings. “Iron Man 3,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” all took drops in that range. “Homecoming” is projected to finish the weekend with a $210 million domestic cume, putting it over the $202 million total run by the last Spidey film, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

In third is Universal/Illumination’s “Despicable Me 3,” which is looking at a $19.3 million third frame after making $6.1 million on Friday. TriStar/MRC’s “Baby Driver” takes fourth with an estimated $8.7 million third weekend as it passes the $80.5 million by “Hot Fuzz” to become the highest worldwide grossing film for director Edgar Wright.

Rounding out the top five is Amazon/Lionsgate’s “The Big Sick,” which expanded to a wide release this weekend with 2,597 screens. The film is on pace for a $7.9 million haul this weekend after three weekends in limited release, bringing its cume to $16.3 million. Finishing outside the top five in sixth place is Broad Green’s “Wish Upon,” which industry estimates have finishing below its $8-10 million pre-weekend projections with a $5.5 million opening from 2,250 screens.

Finally, there’s Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman,” which, in its seventh weekend, was finally pushed out of the top five after hitting the $375 million domestic cume mark. But after overtaking “Batman v Superman” on the domestic front and “Suicide Squad” on the global front, “Wonder Woman” still isn’t done chasing down other superhero films.

“Wonder Woman” is projected to have a seventh frame of $6.7 million, pushing its domestic total to $380.5 million. That puts it just $5.8 million away from passing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and becoming the second-highest domestic grossing film of 2017. The top spot on that list is held by “Beauty and the Beast,” with a whopping $504 million.