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Aug 7, 2011 3:49 PM by Matt Stafford

'Apes' rise to No. 1 weekend with $54 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Apes have climbed to the top rung of the weekend box office.

According to studio estimates Sunday, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" took in $54 million to open as the No. 1 movie.

That was more than analysts expected for the "Apes" prequel, though well below the $68.5 million opening of Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" remake 10 years ago.

The family tale "The Smurfs" remained at No. 2 for the second-straight weekend with $21 million, lifting its domestic total to $76.2 million.

The sci-fi Western "Cowboys & Aliens," which debuted at No. 1 narrowly ahead of "The Smurfs" a week earlier, fell to third with $15.8 million, raising its total to $67.4 million.

The comedy "The Change-Up" opened a weak No. 4 with $13.5 million.

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