EntertainmentApes reign supreme: Summer box office shocker as stuntman stumbles

Apes reign supreme: Summer box office shocker as stuntman stumbles

Freya Allan in "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes"
Freya Allan in "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes"
Images source: © Press materials

7:28 PM EDT, May 13, 2024

Nobody could have predicted such a shocking development this summer in the American cinema scene. Wes Ball's "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" continues to dominate, true to its name. Meanwhile, despite its A-list cast, the highly anticipated "Stuntman" is performing far below expectations. The financial performance of both movies is turning heads but for entirely different reasons.

"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" has surpassed even the most optimistic forecasts. As we reported a few days ago, Wes Ball's creation has amassed $56.5 million domestically and $72.5 million internationally, culminating in a global debut of $129 million. This premiere quickly became the season's most awaited event, especially as it became evident that "Stuntman" by David Leitch would not provide stiff competition.

Initially, "Stuntman," starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt—who are both basking in the glow of last year's awards season, having starred in 2023's biggest hits, "Barbie" by Greta Gerwig and "Oppenheimer" by Christopher Nolan—was pegged as the favourite. However, the season's first blockbuster raked in just $27 million within a few days, falling short of the expected $32–35 million and marking it as a flop.

First hit of the summer: "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" strikes it rich

The success of "Kingdom..." is closely tied to the beloved series from 2011–2017, which includes "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" by Rupert Wyatt and both "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "War for the Planet of the Apes" by Matt Reeves. This franchise has a rich history, starting with the original films in the late 60s and 70s, a TV series in the same era, and a 2001 movie by Tim Burton. The "Ape" universe has proven to be expansive and enduring.

It's hardly surprising that the film attracts mostly an older male audience, though, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, younger viewers are also showing interest. Produced on a budget of $160 million—not including marketing costs—the movie's financial outcomes are more favorable than those of the last two Reeves blockbusters. "Dawn" brought in $54.3 million, while "War" managed $56.3 million.

US box office showdown: What's next after "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes"?

"Stuntman" secured second place in the viewership rankings, earning an estimated $49.7 million. Together with its international revenue, the film's total takings stand at $103 million. The film saw a slight improvement after marketers tweaked their strategy to highlight its romantic elements, attracting more female viewers to theatres.

"Challengers" by Luca Guadagnino claimed the third spot with a global haul of $68.7 million (including $38.4 million domestically). The horror flick "Tarot: Death Card" by Spencer Cohen and Anna Halberg, set for a Polish premiere on Friday, May 17, came in fourth with earnings of $20 million. Meanwhile, "Godzilla vs. Kong: New Empire" by Adam Wingard occupies the fifth place, having grossed over $190 million domestically.

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