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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 Forbes, War 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 Driver. War 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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