James Franco may finally hit get a box office hit as his new movie, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," scored $1.25 million in midnight showings. The prequel to the ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise is expected to earn $30 million this weekend as it expands from 1,124 theaters to 3,648, Reuters has reported.
The film, which also stars John Lithgow and Freida Pinto, earned strong reviews for its talented cast and original storyline – a breath of fresh air for many critics who hailed the film as a silver lining in a cloud of Hollywood summer clichés.
However, some purists said “Rise” does not give justice to the classic films of the 1970’s.
They probably should have called it "Beneath the Dignity of the Planet of the Apes," said Kyle Smith of The New York Post. “But ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is tolerable if you'll just keep in mind that the original feature was an overachieving B-movie.”
Steven Whitty of The Newark Star-Ledger was more critical.
“What isn't here are any of the joys of the classic film,” he said.
If “Rise” continues to rake in box office receipts, it will mean a return to box office form for the young actor. Last year’s highly-acclaimed “127 Hours” earned Franco an Oscar nod, but earned just $18 million in theaters.
The part-time Ivy League student also starred in “Howl,” in which he played the iconic beat poet Allen Ginsburg, but the art-house film brought in about $600,000 – about the cost of Franco’s tuition for the PhD program he is undertaking at Columbia University and Yale.
However, Franco is no stranger to hits. He starred in the 2008’s surprise hit, “Pineapple Express,” in which the serious thespian was hailed for his comedic chops.
And his role as “Harry Osborn” in the Spider-Man series includes him as a member of one of the most successful movie franchise in box office history.