LOS ANGELES — Euphoric reviews did not translate to blockbuster ticket sales for “War for the Planet of the Apes,” which collected $56.5 million at North American theaters over the weekend, or 22 percent less than initial results for its 2014 series predecessor.
Directed by Matt Reeves, “War for the Planet of the Apes” may have struggled to convince moviegoers that it offered something fresh. The studio’s marketing images (monkeys on horseback with machine guns) were similar to ones used for the last installment, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” By this point in the series (three films in six years), moviegoers have most likely grown more blasé about the hyper-realistic visual effects upon which this franchise relies.
In many ways, “War for the Planet of the Apes” is a moody art film. Trailers played up the combat scenes, but the film actually has relatively little action, at least by summer “tent pole” standards. Whether the disconnect had an effect on word-of-mouth is anyone’s guess.
“I think critics and audiences were exactly aligned — this is not a gratuitous sequel,” Chris Aronson, 20th Century Fox’s president of domestic distribution, said by phone on Sunday. “What sets ‘Apes’ apart from any other franchise is its linear storytelling — it’s truly episodic.” He noted that ticket buyers gave the film an A-minus in CinemaScore exit polls.
Aronson added that he expected “War for the Planet of the Apes” to have “amazingly strong” ticket sales in the weekends ahead. He pointed to “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” which arrived to $55.5…
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