Rise of the Planet of the Apes rose right to the top of the box office over the weekend, shocking Hollywood and proving once and for all that America prefers animals acting like people to people acting like animals. How did a monkey movie with a laughable trailer and an oddball, animalistic Oscar campaign make $54 million in its opening weekend (a lusty $20m more than its own studio had predicted) and win over a nation of humanity-hating critics? Just as we do when things go shockingly wrong, we asked an agent, a producer, and a publicist just why and how things went surprisingly right.
Despite a premise that fused two once-reliable genres and a cast featuring both Indiana Jones and James Bond, Jon Favreau’s $163 million Cowboys & Aliens got smurfing smurfed at the box office over the weekend, opening to a measly $36.2 million — well below even the modest $45 million its makers had predicted. As Harrison Ford scrambles into the nearest refrigerator, we at Grantland are left to wonder just what happened. We asked an agent, a producer, and a publicist for insight on why C&A bombed so badly — and what the fallout might be for its makers and Hollywood at large.