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Can 'Apes' save a bombing summer box office?

July 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM ET

Even rival studios hope Fox’s "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," which opens in theaters across the country this weekend, will be a hit. It’s not a wave of entertainment empathy, but industrywide hope that this summer's box-office doldrums are a blip that upcoming films will be able to turn around. Hollywood is still shuddering from a dismal July Fourth weekend box office, down 44 percent from the year-ago weekend. This weekend the "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is expected to dominate. Other highly anticipated films also could break out: Disney's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and Universal's action flick "Lucy." The question is whether this can turn the summer — and year — around. The summer box office (starting in May) is down more than 19 percent compared with last year, and the total U.S. box office year to date is down nearly 4 percent. Why? With the World Cup on TV and virtually limitless content online and on-demand, the bar is higher than ever.

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-Julia Boorstin, CNBC.com

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