'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Smashes Box Office Expecations

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is well on its way to surpassing box office expectations, raking in $19.8 million on its opening day, Friday.

The modern-day remake of the classic 1968 film “Planet of the Apes” starring Charlton Heston was expected to draw a sizeable crowd this weekend and predicted to earn $30 million. In its first day, the film starring James Franco, better known for his role in the Spiderman series, has already met two-thirds of that figure. At this rate, the film could take in $50 million in its opening weekend.

20th Century Fox’s sci-fi thriller is described as a modern-day origins story set in San Francisco. Franco plays Will Rodman, a scientist driven to find a cure for Alzheimer’s because his father (John Lithgow) is afflicted with the disease. Rodman creates and raises a genetically engineered chimpanzee named Caesar (Andy Serkis).

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Caesar was used to test a therapy treatment that would allow the brain to repair itself. But Caesar becomes much more intelligent than Rodman anticipated, evolving into something between an ape and human, and eventually leads apes in an uprising against humankind.

Paste Magazine’s Jonathan Hickman gave a positive review of the film, writing: “‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is one of the most literate science fiction action films in some time. It’s a rare prequel that fits in perfectly in front of the 43-year-old original that inspired it.”

Leading actress Freida Pinto, who plays primatologist Caroline Aranha, shared with Reuters: “[The film] made me realize how important it is to start a conversation about very serious issues and not just be numb to them.

“How far do you go in order to better people’s lives and fight disease, and at what cost? It definitely made me think about it all.”

The film is directed by Rupert Wyatt and stars James Franco (“Spider-Man”), Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Andy Serkis (“The Lord of the Rings”), and John Lithgow (TV series “3rd Rock from the Sun”). The film cost $93 million to make.

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is rated PG-13 and has a 2-hour running time.

Top 6 Movies on Friday:
1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - $19.8 million
2. The Smurfs - $6 million
3. Cowboys and Aliens - $4.7 million
4. The Change-Up - $4.7 million
5. Captain America – The First Avenger - $3.8 million
6. Crazy, Stupid, Love - $3.7 million

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