Apes film on top of US box office
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes has topped the weekend box office in the US.
The action thriller took in 54 million US dollars to open as the Number 1 movie, according to studio estimates.
That was about 15- 20 million dollars more than analysts expected for the Apes prequel, though well below the 68.5 million-dollar opening of Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes remake 10 years ago.
Featuring James Franco, Freida Pinto and Andy Serkis, Rise Of The Planet Of The 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.
"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," said Fox distribution executive Chris Aronson. "The technology is actually servicing a really good, strong, emotional story."
Sony's family tale The Smurfs remained at Number 2 for the second straight weekend with 21 million, lifting its domestic total to 76.2 million.
Universal's sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens, which debuted at Number 1 a week earlier, narrowly ahead of The Smurfs, fell to third with 15.8 million, raising its total to 67.4 million.
Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman's comedy The Change-Up opened at Number 4 with 13.5 million.