The box office results for the weekend of August 5th – 7th unveils a surprising ‘Rise’ for the last major tentpole of the summer season. And in other news, Universal deals with another flopper. Here are the studio estimates:

1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($54 million)

2. The Smurfs ($21 million)

3. Cowboys & Aliens ($15.7 million)

4. The Change-Up ($13.5 million)

5. Captain America: The First Avenger ($13 million)

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($12.1 million)

7. Crazy, Stupid, Love ($12.1 million)

8. Friends with Benefits ($4.7 million)

9. Horrible Bosses ($4.6 million)

10. Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($3 million)

Analysis

Origin tales have over-saturated the cinemas this summer and this has been met with mixed success. Although Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a well-known property, the franchise critically took a hit with the 2001 version, but from a financial perspective, 20th Century Fox made out with a nice chunk of change. Ten years later, the prequel/reboot arrived and cost $90 million to produce. And it looks like; the stars will align (critically & financially) for this flick. This is set-up to be a late sleeper blockbuster to cap off the summer season. Next weekend’s holding power will tell the tale.

Universal seems to get put down a lot despite having bonafide hits with Fast Five and Bridesmaid this year. Financially, the Universal Pictures has grossed the third hightest total this year when compared to its studio counter-parts. That said, The Change-Up is already a dud. Coming in with a production budget of $52 million (pricey for such a simple comedy), this will be struggling all the way through its DVD and On-Demand run – that may come sooner than expected. Universal seems to spend the money, yet the theatrical returns never seem to consistently pan out. This studio has been unable to string together back-to-back hits at the box office the last two years.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon currently holds the longest streak in the top ten with 6 weeks. Its 2011 leading domestic gross is now up to $344 million. However, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ready to breeze right by the current domestic king as the grand finale has now reached $342 million in the states.

Flop Alert: Cowboys & Aliens. Not that we need to pick-on Universal Pictures more than we have to, but the Sci-Fi/western did ring up a $163 million production bill. And with dropping 57% from its mediocre opening weekend, the critically panned film is at $67 million on the domestic front. As of right now, there are no overseas totals to lend a hand.

Sleeper Hit: Nothing as of today, but keep an eye on The Smurfs and Crazy, Stupid, Love.

This Friday brings a full slate for moviegoers to bask in. Want some redundant horror? Final Destination 5 is back tp please you torture-porn fans. Looking for a social-drama? The Help is on tap for you. How about some action-comedy? 30 Minutes or Less should do the trick. And finally, how about something gay? As in happy? Glee: The 3D Concert Movie will be available. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers! (Yes, even Glee – someone is taking one for the team).

Report by Joe Belcastro

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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