War for the Planet of the Apes roars past Spider-Man

New York — Monkey business still pays. War for the Planet of the Apes took down Spider-Man: Homecoming at the North American box office, opening with an estimated $56.5m in ticket sales.

Though some initially expected a closer race, Spider-Man dropped to second with $45.2m after its $117m debut last weekend. But director Matt Reeves' War for the Planet of the Apes pulled away thanks to strong reviews for the third instalment of the rebooted Apes franchise.

Led by Andy Serkis' celebrated motion-capture performance as the ape leader Caesar, War for the Planet of the Apes won a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fox's Apes led something of a summer anomaly: There is an unusual confluence of acclaimed films in release.

Universal's family sequel Despicable Me 3 pulled in $18.9m in its third week, bringing its cumulative total to $188m domestically. Sony's Edgar Wright action comedy Baby Driver followed behind with $8.8m; its three week gross is $73.2m.

The weekend's other most notable new entrant was Kumail Nanjiani's acclaimed romantic comedy The Big Sick, which expanded to about 2 600 theatres after three weeks of limited release. The Lionsgate-Amazon Studios film, produced by Judd Apatow, made $7.6m — a rare success for a comedy in a summer full of disappointment .

The horror film Wish Upon, from Broad Green Pictures, was the weekend's only other new release. It opened with $5.5m and a dismal C CinemaScore from audiences.

Next weekend may well continue the streak of well-reviewed summer releases. Christopher Nolan's World War II thriller Dunkirk lands in theatres following rapturous early reactions.

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