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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Does Monkey Business at the Box Office

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Americans can’t get enough of those damn dirty apes. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes took the number-one spot at box offices this weekend, debuting with a $74 million domestic gross.

The sequel’s performance surpasses both expectations for a $60 million opening and the opening-weekend gross of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which took home $54.8 million, Variety reports.

“It’s one of those rare times when critics and audiences agree and the confluence created a perfect storm for a phenomenal opening,” Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, told Variety.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which was shot over the course of 12 years and earned rave reviews, earned $359,000 from a limited release with only a handful of screening locations across New York and Los Angeles. That’s not a lot compared to the Apes‘ multi-millions, but its per-screen average of $71,800 is the second-highest of the year after The Grand Budapest Hotel and the highest in Linklater’s career. The movie will expand to more theaters this weekend.

“We want to keep it slow and not go out on 800 screens in week two or three,” Jonathan Sehring, president of IFC Films, said. “The awareness is high, the media attention has been tremendous, and the word of mouth in the Twitter-sphere and social media universe is outstanding, so we’re going to continue to build on this.”

Transformers: Age of Extinction meanwhile took second place, crossing the $200 million mark domestically and continuing to perform well overseas, while Tammy, starring Melissa McCarthy, fell to third place. Both films received largely negative reviews.


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Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com