Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes number one the first weekend of the final month of summer, garnering an impressive $54 million dollars and removing Cowboys and Aliens from its barely obtained position at the top. The new Planet of the Apes film had little competition, with the increasingly grotesque and unnecessary release of films in which two people swap bodies resulting in The Change-Up, which managed $13.5 million.

Let us begin with the 2001 release of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes. Somehow, this director has an uncanny ability to completely wreck originals, or form an awful original of his own as indicated by Batman. Let’s compare that to Batman Begins, and be done with it. The reason he is incapable of forming a decent remake, although it is remarkable to notice how many viewers actually defend his vision of Planet of the Apes, is thatBurton does not have range. He simply doesn’t have the capacity to adapt to the particular need of a franchise or original.

Although Burton’s 2001 release made money, it is distinctly a Burtonfilm. Every film that Burtonmakes is distinctly his, just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was vastly inferior to the original simply because it was so incredibly untrue to the Roal Dahl novel’s tone. It had been adapted correctly already, and didn’t need to have Johnny Depp slapped on it, and packaged into a nightmarish, quirky fantasy that is every Burton production. Likewise, Alice in Wonderland had literally the exact same problem. Three remakes, all awful representations of originals which did not in any way fit intoBurton’s mindset of filmmaking.

So, fans of the original franchise, of which there are many (including myself), will rush to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Even though the CGI seems a bit substandard, ultimately this film appears to be a return to form. We will not be forced to embrace some distorted vision of what someone believes Planet of the Apes should be, and we can watch a film that allows it to be what it is. With name talent like James Franco of 127 Hours involved, and John Lithgow, this film seems like an ideal summer film which is primarily an emotionally driven prequel as well as a worthy addition to a much loved series—and that is why it’s taken number one.

Meanwhile…Poor Jason Bateman. And maybe even Ryan Reynolds for that matter. The Change-Up looks to be about as awful as it sounds, and the concept of switching bodies is still neither appealing or funny to the majority of audiences. I’ve never personally heard praise for Freaky Friday. Now, maybe if people want a laugh, they’ll give it a shot, but ultimately this is studio trash at its worst.

This weekend looks to be interesting. It’s a clash of genres, if nothing else. The first competitor is 30 Minutes or Less, which I believe has the most potential to take number one. R-rated comedies are feeling lucky this year, and Jesse Eisenberg has definitely built up a fan-base. Also, many audiences enjoyed Zombieland. This team-up should work again, even if this new film has a completely different tone.

Then there’s Final Destination 5. It wouldn’t have been made if the last one hadn’t made profit. So long as they keep making profit, and today’s teenagers like watching other teenagers have sex and get killed in the most gruesome, imaginative way (they’re our future, by the way), these films will keep being made and keep doing well. It should come in around third or fourth, competing with The Smurfs. No way Rise of the Planet of the Apes falls beneath second.  

Glee? 3D? Well, that sounds like a hit to me. At least, for its sadly interested audiences. However, it does have an incredibly (ridiculously) large fan-base, and could be a valid competitor—but in all likelihood, it bombs entirely. Cowboys and Aliens drops to fifth, The Smurfs to fourth. The only variable for me is The Help. No one much cares for a drama these days, but most people care for Emma Stone—particularly after warmly welcomed Easy A and the spotlight from upcoming The Amazing Spiderman.

USA Weekend Box-Office
August 5, 2011

Rank Title Weekend Gross
1   Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) $54M $54M
2   The Smurfs (2011) $21M $76.2M
3   Cowboys & Aliens (2011) $15.7M $67.4M
4   The Change-Up (2011) $13.5M $13.5M
5   CaptainAmerica: The First Avenger (2011) $13M $143M
6   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) $12.2M $343M
7   Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) $12.1M $42.2M
8   Friends with Benefits (2011) $4.7M $48.5M
9   Horrible Bosses (2011) $4.62M $105M
10   Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) $3.02M $344M