Did Apes Cheat Death at the Box Office this Weekend?

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It was a good weekend at the box office if you’re a monkey. As for death, it could be that his signature film franchise might indeed be approaching its final destination.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes did something few films have done this past summer by holding on to the top spot for a second weekend in a row. Despite a 50% drop in its second weekend, the apes are proving to be anything but monkey business with a weekend tally of $27.5 million. The state-of-the-art prequel has taken in $104.9 million domestically since opening ten days ago and did so without the use of 3D or the inflated prices that go with it. Don’t be surprised to hear news that these apes will be rising again in a sequel very soon.

Speaking of sequels and inflated 3D ticket prices, despite some of the best reviews of any film in the franchise, Final Destination 5 only mustered $18.4 million for the weekend, a distant third behind both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help. This marks the first time a Final Destination sequel opened to less money than the previous installment, trailing the 2009 opening of The Final Destination 3D by nearly $10 million.

When trying to make sense of why Final Destination 5 fell short, one probably has to look no further than The Final Destination 3D for the reason why. Universally regarded as a terrible sequel, it already squandered the novelty of seeing the kills in 3D, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to know that some potential viewers were annoyed at how the last Final was touted as the final Final and feel a little cheated by death in a different way that they would come back so soon with another sequel. This isn’t like back in the Eighties when the Friday the 13th franchise could get away with “The Final Chapter” and “A New Beginning” a year later; audiences today are much more cynical when it comes to this stuff. If Lionsgate came back with another Saw this Halloween after hyping last year’s as the end of the series, I’d be willing to bet you it would be the lowest grossing sequel in the franchise.

Not that any of this will matter much in the long run. Final Destination 5 will almost certainly rake in enough money internationally and on DVD to bring about the inevitable Final Destination 6, but the law of diminishing returns is now clearly in full effect.

Expect the latest 3D exploits of teenagers being systematically slaughtered by the ghost of Rube Goldberg to die even harder at the box office next weekend when Disturbia 2: My Neighbor Is a Vampire (AKA Fright Night 3D) and Conan the Scorpion King in 3D challenge it for the roughly the same demographics.

Now someone explain to me how is it that Jim Wynorski has yet to make the Skinemax parody Final Breastination?

Did Apes Cheat Death at the Box Office this Weekend?

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