Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes won the North American session hands-down, arriving on an estimated $73m as the studio said it had passed $1bn for the year-to-date.

Apes’ debut far outweighed the $16.5m haul of number two film Transformers 4, which crossed $200m in its third weekend although it does look to be braking hard.

Standing at $209m following a 56% drop, the sci-fi is on course to become the lowest-grossing entry in the franchise. As is so often the case with tentpoles that fall below expectations, international is saving everyone’s blushes.

The involvement of Chinese partners has led to that spectacular $262m running total and the film has amassed $543m internationally and $752.5m worldwide.

The Apes sequel stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarks, Keri Russell and Gary Oldman and did better than its predecessor, which opened in August 2011 on $54.8m.

If that film’s $176.8m final tally and the overwhelmingly positive reviews for Dawn are anything to go by, the new release can look forward to a most prosperous run.

The first international forays drew $31.1m from 26 markets, of which only two were majors. High hopes would appear to be in order, especially in light of the Fox announcement on Sunday (13) that studio had crossed $1bn at the North American box office in a company record time.

Begin Againvaulted six places to number nine in its fourth weekend through TWC after expanding by 764 theatres to 939 and adding $2.9m for $5.3m.

IFC released Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which has corralled a heap of industry goodwill and is being spoken of as a serious awards contender.

The coming-of-age drama took $359,000 from five sites for a formidable $71,800 site average.

Sundance entry Land Ho! opened through SPC on $37,800 from four venues. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania opened through Reliance Big Pictures on $401,000 from 101.

Overall box office for the top 12 gained 16% against last weekend’s insipid July Fourth session but fell 26% against the same weekend in 2013, when Despicable Me 2 held on to its top bunk against high-scoring number two and three performances by Grown Ups 2 and an admittedly sub-par Pacific Rim.

Next weekend Buena Vista opens Planes: Fire & Rescue; Sony releases the Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel comedy Sex Tape; and Universal debuts horror sequel The Purge: Anarchy.

Estimated Top 10 North America July 11-13 2014
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Fox International $73m –

2 (1) Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Paramount) PPI $16.5m $209m

3 (2) Tammy (Warner Bros) WBPI $12.9m $57.4m

4 (3) 22 Jump Street (Sony) SPRI $6.7m $171.9m

5 (5) How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Fox-DreamWorks Animation) Fox International $5.9m $152.1m

6 (6) Earth To Echo (Relativity Media) $5.5m $24.6m

7 (4) Deliver Us From Evil (Sony/Screen Gems) SPRI $4.7m $25m

8 (7) Maleficent (Disney) $4.2m $221.9m

9 (15) Begin Again (TWC) TWC International $2.9m $5.3m

10 (8) Jersey Boys (Warner Bros) WBPI $2.5m $41.7m