‘Apes’ sees strong debut at the Korean box office

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‘Apes’ sees strong debut at the Korean box office

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the sequel about highly intelligent apes that battle with humans for dominance, knocked the giant “Transformers” out of the top spot at both the Korean and North American box offices over the second weekend of July. In North America, the 3-D “Apes” collected $73 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from Rentrak.

“Apes” picks up 10 years after where the 2011 film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” left off. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar, a brainy ape who leads his species and negotiates their interactions with the few humans who survived a deadly virus. The films are reboots of the franchise that began with the 1968 classic film about apes that launch a revolution.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which ruled the box office over the past two weekends, dropped to second place, taking in $16.5 million. “Tammy,” a Melissa McCarthy comedy about a fast-food worker who gets fired, claimed the No. 3 spot with $12.9 million.

“Dawn” debuted stronger than 2011’s “Rise,” which grossed $54.8 million during its opening weekend. It also exceeded pre-weekend forecasts with a debut of $63 million to $70 million at North American theaters. “Apes” added another $31 million in international markets for a global debut of $104 million, according to 20th Century Fox, the unit of 21st Century Fox that released it. Critics applauded the new installment, with 91 percent of reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website recommending the film.

The strong start for “Apes” helped lift summer ticket sales, which remain significantly behind last year. Theaters have rung up $2.4 billion since the beginning of May, down 20 percent from the same period last year, according to Rentrak.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” starring Mark Wahlberg in the franchise’s fourth film, is one of the season’s biggest hits, and last week became China’s highest-grossing movie of all time.

Global sales through Sunday reached $752.5 million, according to distributor Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom. The comedy “22 Jump Street” finished in fourth place. The film, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as undercover cops, collected $6.7 million at domestic theaters over the weekend.

In Korea, “Apes” also had a strong debut in the top spot, with 1.3 million moviegoers adding $10.5 million to its global sales.

The baduk-themed film “The Divine Move,” starring Korean heartthrob Jung Woo-sung, remained in the No. 2 spot, attracting a 621,321-strong audience, taking its two-week total to 2,358,812 in ticket sales.

In third place was Michael Bay’s ambitious “Age of Extinction,” part of the “Transformer” series, which was dethroned after holding tight at No. 1 over the two previous weeks, with 463,879 in ticket sales over the weekend. It has amassed an audience of 4,909,109 people so far, raking in more than 4 billion won ($40.3 million).

“Confession,” starring actors Ji Sung, Ju Ji-hoon and Lee Kwang-soo, debuted in fourth place with 148,608 in ticket sales, making more than 1 billion won in its first week.

BY JIN EUN-SOO, REUTERS [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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