The 20th Century Fox action thriller "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" took in $54 million to open as the No. 1 movie, Apes have climbed to the top rung of the weekend box office. That was about $15 million to $20 million more than analysts expected for the "Apes" prequel, though well below the $68.5 million opening of Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" remake 10 years ago.Featuring James Franco, Freida Pinto and Andy Serkis, "Apes" tells the story of how lower primates began evolving to take over Earth from humans.
The film was well received by critics, who found it a smarter than average summer action flick. Its impressive visual effects rely on performances from Serkis and other actors as the foundation for photo realistic apes created by digital artists.Fox distribution executive Chris Aronson."I think the reviews highlight the groundbreaking nature of this movie. When you have effects that have never been seen before, people respond to that. They know they have to be seen to be believed,"."The technology is actually servicing a really good, strong, emotional story." Sony's family tale "The Smurfs" remained at No. 2 for the second straight weekend with $21 million, lifting its domestic total to $76.2 million.