After a brief skirmish with anarchists, the apes remain top banana.
Despite a blistering opening by The Purge: Anarchy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes managed to rule cineplexes on a slow weekend.
Dawn retained the top spot for the second consecutive weekend, collecting $36 million, according to studio estimates from the box office firm Rentrak.
The haul brought Dawn's total to $139 million, making it the 10th film of summer to collect nine digits at turnstiles.
The apes rallied after falling behind the latest Purge installment, which was the No. 1 film on Friday but settled for second place for the weekend with $28.4 million.
Though Anarchy's debut fell short of last year's original opening of $34 million, the sequel's $9 million budget (triple the first) ensures that it will be profitable -- and probably bestowed with another sequel.
Distributor Universal Pictures "understandably wanted to strike while the iron was hot by quickly releasing a sequel," says David Mumpower, analyst for Box Office Prophets.
The studio "tripled down on the concept by spending $9 million on The Purge: Anarchy, which is still chump change by studio standards," he says.
Mumpower suggests that "the Purgefranchise joins Saw and Paranormal Activityas a low-budget, high-reward series that has innumerable sequel opportunities."
Critics may hope not: Just 52% of them gave the movie a thumbs-up, according to the survey site Rotten Tomatoes, though moviegoers gave it a collective B, reports movie pollsters CinemaScore.
Another fast-track sequel, the animated comedy Planes: Fire & Rescue, took third place with $18 million, meeting its modest expectations and earning an A from CinemaScore.
Less alluring: the debut of Sex Tape, which managed just fourth place with $15 million, well below expectations. It earned a C-plus from fans, CinemaScore says.
Transformers: Age of Extinctiontook fifth place with $10 million.
Final figures are out today.
Original headline: 'Apes' still is master of its box office kingdom
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