Film CHUD Pred Weekend Per Total
1 Rise of the Apes
$41 (-13m) $54,000,000 $14,803 $54,000,000
2 The Smurfs
$21 $21,000,000 (-41%) $6,186 $76,201,831
3 Cowboys & Aliens
$15 (-.7m) $15,748,030 (-57%) $4,195 $67,368,095
4 The Change-UP
$19.5 (+6m) $13,501,755 $4,635 $13,501,755
5 Captain America $12.5 (-.5m) $13,000,000 (-49%) $3,591 $143,182,045
6 Deathly Hallows 2
- $12,160,000 (-45%) $3,830 $342,801,014
7 Crazy, Stupid, Love
- $12,100,000 (-37%) $4,007 $42,185,106
8 Friends With Benefits
- $4,700,000 (-49%) $1,960 $48,538,404
9 Horrible Bosses
- $4,620,000 (-36%) $2,281 $105,162,163
10 Transformers 3
- $3,015,000 (-50%) $1,626 $344,173,341

Avg. CHUD Prediction Difference: +/- $4.04m

There was no middle ground for the new releases this previous weekend, as Apes kicked all kinds of ass and The Change-Up failed to excite much of anyone.

It seems a consistently strong marketing campaign merged with last minute good buzz to take Apes well past expectation (Nick and I had our fingers crossed for it), ranking in the top 10 best August openings ever, even when adjusted for inflation. Good for Serkis, good for WETA, good for Wyatt, and good for Fox, who have gone against type this year and released (count ‘em) TWO blockbusters this year that made character and thematic content a priority (X-Men the other). Whatever process allowed that to happen… Fox should do that more. If (read: when) the film shoots into 9-figures it will have surpassed its listed $93m budget. So many lessons to be learned if the studios are paying attention…

Who would have thought Jason Bateman would exit this summer looking like more of a marketable A-lister than Ryan Reynolds? Their two powers combined for this summer-concluding raunchy comedy that just didn’t take, but Bateman has a +$100m unexpected comedy hit on his hands (and still in theaters) while Reynolds stands among the smoldering remains of Green Lantern‘s Challenger-explosion of a superhero franchise kickoff. Surely neither of them are happy about a mere $13.5m rolling in for their high-concept comedy though, the marketing of which seemed to do a decent job of selling what the film had going for it. An R-rating kills the date crowd, but it was still too obviously family-focused and struck from the rom-com mold to crossover into other markets. The star power was the variable, and it’s not a flattering moment for Reynolds. While The Change-Up is not nearly good enough to be disappointed over, the film deserved at least as strong of an opening as the friend-fucking movies that have come out this year. Alas, it will simply disappear and take its dilating baby assholes with it.

Even if Cowboys & Aliens ultimately got the top spot of their opening weekend, its de facto rival The Smurfs will certainly have the last laugh, overtaking the alien western and promising much better legs. Potter will coast past Transformers moments after their totals equalize, but with Potter a bit higher up the list with more steam, the wizard is pretty much guaranteed to stand triumphant over the year’s box office rankings. Captain America will soon trot past $150m, though it will be tough to string it out any farther than something near Thor‘s $180m total. It’s another good stepping stone for Marvel, as they gear up to promote a team-up that could have been severely ham-strung by any individual failure in close proximity.

A few more weeks of fun flicks (and lots of leftovers) until it’s time to start looking forward to the off-season biggies and the prestige flicks. Cheers till then.

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