Critics in the US got to catch War for the Planet of the Apes a few days before critics in Malaysia did. The early reviews were beyond great. “One of the greatest trilogies of all time,” was the general consensus. That is high praise that puts the Apes trilogy in the same category as The Godfather Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, the ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy (Yes, I find Nolan’s TDK trilogy excellent). 

When I finally got to see the movie, it was almost as early reviewers had put it. While I didn’t find it to be a cinematic masterpiece like most critics did, I still loved it. “This movie is like having sex with a hot chick without getting an orgasm: still bloody awesome,” I said. Click HERE to check out my review.  I decided to give the movie a second go yesterday and holy sh*t, I enjoyed it even more, the second time around. War for the Planet of the Apes currently sits comfortably at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and 82% on Metacritic. Point is, it’s universally lauded by critics.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today.

Guys, this movie is doing terribly at the Box Office. I know 170 Mil USD at the worldwide Box Office sounds like a lot of money. Is it, though? Let’s look at some stats.

  1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) grossed over 481 Mil USD at the worldwide BO with a mere 93 Mil USD production budget.
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) grossed over 710 Mil USD at the worldwide BO with a 170 Mil USD production budget.

That’s a significant, well-deserved increase between the first and second movie of this new Apes trilogy. Given as how War is the third and presumedly final installment of this franchise — at the very least, Caesar’s story comes to a close — one would expect this movie to make even more money than its predecessors or merely a marginal drop. A few months ago, I predicted that War for the Planet of the Apes would gross around 800 Mil USD at the global BO.

**I made other Box Office predictions as well and you can check out how I got every single prediction WRONG, by clicking this green sentence.

In a shocking turn of events, War for the Planet of the Apes has only grossed over 175 Mil USD thus far with a 150 Mil USD production budget.

What on earth happened?

Within the last couple of months, we’ve seen how good word of mouth and critic reviews have given movies an extra push (or pulled them down the drains). Critically acclaimed Wonder Woman did what most people thought to be impossible: A female-led superhero movie, directed by a female, grossing over 779 Mil USD in the global Box Office. An amazing feat to say the least. On the other side of the coin, we have Transformers: The Last Knight, a franchise that prior to this was said to be “critic-proof.” I predicted an easy 1 Bil USD gross at the worldwide BO. I have never been so happy to be so wrong in my life. Thanks to universal hate from critics and sh*tty word of mouth from fans (even people in China disliked it), this movie currently sits on 547 Mil USD. Still a lot of money but not nearly as much as the previous movies in this largely horrible franchise helmed by Michael Bay. #enoughisenough

But how did War for the Planet of the Apes do so badly at the Box Office even with critics promoting the heck out of it all over the internet? I myself keep prompting my 140 twitter followers (I know, I’m I’m famous) over and over again to watch the damn thing.

Forbes recently wrote an interesting piece on this too, citing Matt Reeves’ War as a depressing film with a “been there, done that” marketing campaign as one of the reasons for the plummet. I can tell you that the movie is definitely more than “been there, done that.” But I can agree that the marketing campaign was less than stellar, not just in terms of creative execution, but also in terms of volume — I hardly saw its trailers in the cinema.

Another possibility could be the so-called “franchise fatigue.” According to Scott Mendelson from ForbesWar for the Planet of the Apes suffered the same fate as Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond, another critically acclaimed 3rd movie in a franchise, that failed to make the big bucks at the Box Office.

It’s possible, but perhaps the biggest reason why War failed to crush it at the global BO is that it had a pretty crappy release date. Times have changed. Summer is all year long. Studios have to realize that releasing a movie in July doesn’t guarantee big bucks. Not anymore. War was released one week after Spider-Man: Homecoming and a week before Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Edgar Wright’s Baby DriverWar for the Planet of the Apes had (as Vince McMahon would put it), no chance in hell.  20th Century Fox should have been wiser and released the movie sometime in February. Back in the day, January and February were known as the dumping ground for horrible movies. But as Deadpool proved last year by grossing 783 Mil USD, if you’ve got a good blockbuster on your hands, February is an excellent time as any, to release your movie.

Guys, please go see War for the Planet of the Apes. This movie deserves your money.

Hey, you! Yes you, hot stuff. Have you caught War for the Planet of the Apes? If you haven’t, Leave a comment below and let me know why you didn’t go see it.
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  • Dusty White

    This was a *very good* movie (IMHO) not a great one. I was looking forward to it, having loved the first two PotA movies, and having a marginal interest in the concept of the originals. But I knew (guessed) that the release date was a death sentence (hopefully it will crush in video rentals). No one takes on Marvel one week in, and then with two massively hyped movies (not including that Valerian fiasco) shoving their way to the head of the line.

    Spider-man H. was *fun.* It was the most fun I have had at the movies since Deadpool, and it felt like they made “Deadpool 2” with a living superhero. It was a good movie with GREAT moments, and the extended Stan Lee scene (he actually have a few lines—finally) was icing on the cake. I was depressed going to see War (PotA) after seeing Spiderman because I knew it was going to be a downer. Once in the theaters (no spoilers here) it was hard for me to figure out who I was supposed to root for in the first 30 minutes. Humans? Apes? Great story told . . . well “well?” but not masterfully. War needs to be seen if you have seen the first two PotA movies. It is sad and uplifting and is a commentary on so many aspects of the 20th century and its sociological problems. But yeah, September or February—not right in the middle of the “oh my god it’s summer and the kids are all going to the movies” season.

    I strongly believe that this was an adult movie with adult themes that dragged down its potential box office like an accountant showing up at a birthday party (instead of a clown) as entertainment (apologies to accountants). This, to me is very sad. It will probably mean that future PotA movies will now be questioned by the bean counters on its merits rather than the abysmal release date planning. What MORON decided to shove THIS movie into a party atmosphere?

    Bah! If anyone reads this you should probably see the movie for yourself and decide on its merits (it won’t be long until it is on Netflix I guess) but don’t gauge it by the box office. This was a failure at the top by executives who make more in a year than this movie did in three weeks. That said, I am hoping there will be sequels and not another reboot (see Planet of the Apes by Tim Burton, All of the Batman remakes, the “new and improved Superman,” and how many different Spidermans are we up to now?).

    Just my two centavos :-p

    • Dashran Yohan

      I agree with you completely.

      Perhaps the studio executives figured that this movie had the potential of competing with Spidey because the first two POTA movies exceeded everyone’s expectations and made so much money. Whereas the previous two Spidey movies were didn’t make as much as Sony hoped. But still, 20th Century Fox should have predicted that people were going to flock to the cinemas to see this new Spidey as it’s a Marvel Studios co-production.

      • Dusty White

        Thanks for the response. I know it is almost a cliche for me to tell some movie studio how to run their business but if the real power of planning out release dates and marketing (final decisions, not the “expertise” stuff) were left in the hands of the producer/director team we would see movie released planned out like REAL businesses. “This is my only product and it damned well want it to reach as many people as possible. The problem with too much consolidation is that factors like theme parks and merchandising and pushing some other property or project get into the mix and movies get pushed into a lump of projects that can average out overall. I worked in the industry for several years, but never at the very top. I met those guys (in the top floor offices) and saw top name directors pull all kinds of stunts to get their deals made, so I had a tiny glimpse how clean these guys’ butts were from all of the kissing they got.

        Just one example: I was ordered to deliver (big time TV director)’s Emmy(R) to the head of FOX “no mater what” and I was stopped by the secretary and insisted that I was supposed to deliver this to (let’s call him . . . Kevin) “right now no matter what—and by the way he is at this office in a meeting with (studio exec), and don’t you dare come back. Go now! Run! Drive then run!

        I was allowed in and interrupted the meeting only to find that I was a stooge. “K” (whose real name I will not reveal) laughed like a millionaire chuckling at a lovable street urchin as he took the Emmy and said “Oh, you didn’t have to deliver that to me here! I could pick it up at any time.”

        Anyway, that is just one of the many stories that goes on every day. Stupid “K.” :-p

    • Silvanus Clarke

      This movie was way better than Spider-Man you guys are crazy to say this pota movie is not better than Spider-Man. Spider Man had 0 dramatic intensity. The one good part about it was that iron man was in it. The only saw Spider-Man because I’m a marvel head . But as far being a MOVIE . It
      was ok. I mean I came in watching Spider-Man knowing that it was going to be a hit at the box office because for the most part people was going to watch it with their kids. Kids couldn’t begin to understand the adult themes and complexities of a movie like pota. It was well done and well written

      • Dusty White

        I can respect that opinion. I loved both movies (very much).

        • Silvanus Clarke

          Although i put this on the producers deciding to put this out around the same time as spiderman. That was a gross error

  • SnidgetAsphodel

    I don’t think I will ever fully understand how it’s done so badly. This movie is astonishing on all levels. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through and came out absolutely in love, surprised that they were able to equal my respect for the first two films. It’ll continue to boggle my mind how shitty films like Transformers can rake in several times what this masterpiece has. People are strange for wanting to dump their money on that crap instead of an honestly fantastic movie with intelligence and a great story.

    • Dashran Yohan

      I feel you man. This movie was a thing of beauty.

      I understand (sorta) why Transformers makes a shit ton of money. People want to go to the cinema and watch shit explode.
      The War for the Planet of the Apes story baffles me because the first two made so much money. And it’s sad to see this movie make so little just because of its release date.

      • SnidgetAsphodel

        I mean, don’t get me wrong, watching some things explode can be fun. But the mindless, brain-numbing action of Transformers? I did like the first of that franchise but everything since really shouldn’t be able to compete with great movies like these new PotA. It’s a travesty. I’d go see this several more times if my schedule allowed me the time just to throw my money at it. Heck, maybe it’ll continue to rake in the dough and it will be more of a marathon to profit rather than a sprint. When I went to watch it just two days ago the theater was packed full, which I rarely see happen in the sleepy area I live in a couple weeks after release. I’m just happy it’s still made enough of a profit that they are considering a 4th movie and I’ll definitely be buying it on Blu-Ray. Here’s to hoping Serkis finally wins an Oscar and the film at LEAST a nomination.

  • WC22

    As far as I am aware it has not opened in many of the major international markets yet and thus still has the potential to make healthy profits. It has been described as a marathon runner rather than a sprinter in terms of its box office takings. I would not worry until September when it will be released in all scheduled markets.

    • Dashran Yohan

      You make a great point sir. Let’s hope for the best and see how it goes.

  • Steven Lyle Jordan

    I was done with this franchise after the hundredth viewing of Roddy McDowell on basic cable. Improved SFX and Andy Serkis don’t make a rehash any better, and I haven’t seen anything to drive me to this, or the previous, Apes movies.

    • Dashran Yohan

      Give this new Apes trilogy a go. It just might surprise you. 🙂

    • SnidgetAsphodel

      Don’t knock it until you see it. Really! The new movies are some of the best I have seen and honestly deserve to be viewed. You might just love them. I kept expecting them to fail with each release but they continued to surprise me with how wonderful they are.

      • Dashran Yohan

        I agree with you completely. When the first POTA came out, I was like, “Meh, who gives a shit about POTA?” Then I watched it and I was blown away. And it kept on getting better and better. It’s definitely one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.

        • SnidgetAsphodel


  • Theo Agunu

    Well, audience loved King Authur: Legend of the Sword, one of my best movies this year, but critics brought it down so it didnt get the box office it deserved. Star Trek is a far more meaningful, and mature franchise than star wars, yet it still makes a far less box office. There is no justice in the world right now. No matter how bad a Marvel, Disney or Star Wars movie gets, critics will still rate it high cause they are getting paid. War for Planet of apes, unfortunately, has finally fallen into the unlucky part of the movie system. Move on.

    • Dashran Yohan

      I personally did not like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword too. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to let Guy Ritchie direct a medieaval fantasy. The latest Star Trek movie by Justin Lin is critically acclaimed. The reason it doesn’t make as much money as Star Wars is because it isn’t a big deal in pop culture anymore.

      PS: I am waiting for the day critics get paid by studios to write great things about movies. I am tired of living in a small room with hardly any room to move.

      • Theo Agunu

        Well, you just mentioned you are a critic. Did you read what i said? Audience loved the movie, not critics. King Authur has one of the highest/freshest audience score this year with over 76% on RT and 90% on Google. Most of you you critics are the reason we dont get the sequels we want.

  • Shutup&Listen

    Did not care to watch this movie. It is getting a little boring and add all the prior classics combined you have a lot of movies about Apes.
    Say what you want to say about Transformers however even though the story is unsalvageable , the visuals of the movie were amazing. Best 3d movie hands down and I am talking about a technical perspective. Many of the Millennials did not grow up in the 80’s. We had more explosions in movies back then compared to M.Bay. The only difference is that these days with Practical Effects the explosions look more grandiose. Back then this S** was for real. Point is, sometimes you want to watch a silly movie to escape and btw Spiderman Homecoming was GARBAGE!!!! I am not even going to get into the comics that I grew up with but from what we watched on the last movie (Civil War) this Spiderman was the drunk of the neighborhood….ooops I can’t climb the wall, ooopss I fell over the fence, oopps I pull a tree house down, ooopss….ooopsss…sorry!!! But somehow I fought against the Avengers in Civil War….yeah that makes perfect sense. I can keep going but I will stop before some of you become overly upset and pass out like fainting goats!!!!!!!

    • Sherlock Holmes

      We have a Transformers fan here

      • Shutup&Listen

        I had a very long reply to your idiotic comment but it seems “hypedgeek” blocked it in case I hurt your feelings.

    • Lan Lee

      Obviously u didn’t see the number of times he fell from high altitude, in all his set pieces he fell so many times and Avengers were holding back. Like Cap for example…

      • Shutup&Listen

        What high altitude? Oh the two scenes? Okay yeah that makes the movie so much better and the best Spider-Man everrrr!!! You guys are brainwashed on this ideology that homecoming was a great movie. It was gerbage then and it’s still garbage now!! The only saving grace was Michael Keaton. That kid sucked with his little whiny voice and so did his little side kick.

  • Chandra M. Jordan

    I don’t know why it’s not doing well. I LOVED this film and the franchise although I loved/hated the ending. I fully intend on buying the digital and DVD versions of the trilogy as well.

  • Dan Diego Hernandez

    I have no clue why this movie is not doing good as it should. I thought it would finish out with 200 million at least here in the states. Just like Alien Resurrection I guess people are not interested in this type of movies. Idk IMO I think this one and Wonder Woman are the best of the summer. I’m sure it will pull more money internationally though.

  • Viridis Lumen

    Excellent film which doesn’t deserve to underperform – though your interesting article gives a good account of why. They had provisionally okayed a 4th movie, likely taking the story some distance into the future and I hope this still happens but with a better scheduling. The acting ang direction is good throughout, though maybe the title War is a bit misleading (Guerilla Insurgency for the Planet of the Apes might have been too silly a title mind you!). The only part that disappointed was what I felt was a rather rushed ending. After 2hours 20 mins, another 4 or 5 minutes wouldn’t have hurt.
    In terms of box office, there are still some significant markets esp in east Asia where it hasn’t been released yet inc China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, as well as some European states like Germany – not seeing any box office returns yet either from Canada?
    Thanks for the article. Cheers from the UK.

  • EasyThere Pilgrim

    Critics rated based on political and social issues….NOT on if a movie is entertaining. Haven’t you figured that out by now? This movie is okay. Good at best. It’s not very-good and it’s definitely not great.

    The reason critics gave this great reviews is because they had a psycho American leader, evil guy….and they twice said how he’s building a wall (even though there was no wall in the movie). But saying that is guaranteed to get good reviews from the left-wing critics.

  • MisterFloppy

    Was a very good movie, but too similar to Dawn. So some people can see it as “more of the same”

    • Sherlock Holmes

      It’s the same director so it’s kinda expected.

  • rugolin

    This film is probably going to lose 50-100 million dollars at the end of the day which is a surprising comedown from the $750 million dollar take of Dawn. It is interesting to surmise why this Titanic disaster happened. I know that everyone I talked to had watched the first two movies and expressed zero interest into going to this film. Everyone. My wild guess is that the premise of the demise of humanity is so off-putting that there is no entertainment value in the misanthropy and nihilism of the creative team’s hatred of mankind.Just a guess.

  • Tobias O’Brien

    The originals are much better. I dislike the 2 remakes and saw 20 mins of the 3rd one and walked away. Its not as good as the original Conquest/Battle at all. Plus the originals had something called believability the remakes do not. Just lots of cgi!

  • D淡定D

    Let me break it to you. This movie sucks.