20th Century Fox's science fiction sequel outmuscled a trio of new films to top the North American box office for the second-straight week with $36 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The acclaimed sequel to 2011's reboot of the chimp franchise has now made $139 million domestically in two weeks.
Its closest completion over the weekend was the home-invasion horror thriller "The Purge: Anarchy," written and directed by James DeMoncaco. Universal's low-budget sequel to last year's surprise hit, "The Purge," opened with $28.4 million, down from the $34.1 million the original scared up on opening weekend.
But "Anarchy," which imagines an America where all crime is legal for 12 hours every year, was made for only $9 million, making it immediately profitable for Universal. Such success is the envy of most movies, particularly Sony's "Sex Tape," a more expensive release made for about $40 million that opened with $15 million.
The Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz comedy failed to entice moviegoers or critics. The film, in which a married couple makes a pornographic home video to stoke the flames of their lagging sex life, came in fourth place behind Disney's "Planes: Fire & Rescue." The animated sequel to 2013's "Cars"-offshoot, "Planes," opened with $18 million.
In a limited release of 68 theaters, Zach Braff's crowd-funded "Wish I Was Here" also arrived with a tiny weekend opening of $495,000 for Focus Features. The film, Braff's directorial follow-up to 2004's "Garden State," was much criticized for depending on fan contributions for funding. "Wish I Was Here" will expand to more theaters next week, but it will fall far short of the $26.8 million "Garden State" earned.
Weekend revenue overall was down 24 percent from the same weekend last year, continuing a cold summer for Hollywood that's more than 20 percent off the pace of summer of 2013.
"It was kind of a middling weekend unless you were the top film," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. Dergarabedian looks ahead optimistically to upcoming releases "Lucy," starring Scarlett Johansson, and the Marvel space film "Guardians of the Galaxy," of which he noted: "A lot of pressure is being put on that movie. It may be the last big summer blockbuster."
But as July turns to August, Hollywood's summer is certain to be a down one.