Movie Monday: Still Going Ape for … Well, You Know

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 We’re sinners. That’s what most of us Christians are taught from before we really know what sin is. We’re prone to lie and steal and will even destroy ourselves if given a chance. We’re so screwed up that, without God, there’s no hope for us.

Those views are reflected, rather quirkily, in the box office right now. Oh, not the God bit, necessarily. But let’s face it: The biggest movies this week aren’t exactly brimming with sunny humanistic optimism.

Take Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which repeated as the box office’s apex predator this week. The film posits a future in which humans and apes are locked in a tense stare-down—and the first one to blink loses the planet. Who will win? Well, the title sort of gives it away. Curse our humanoid arrogance! Not that that bleak future stopped moviegoers from plunking down an estimated $36 million bananas to see our impending doom.

And then there’s The Purge: Anarchy. No apes to worry about here—only us. It posits a world in the not-so-distant future when crime, including murder, is legalized for one night a year, leading to an annual catastrophic bloodbath. It’s a terrible, horrible world—one which moviegoers collectively spent $28.4 million to see. Anarchy landed in second place.

Think there’s a little relief when we hit third-place Planes: Fire & Rescue? Ha! Did you notice that there are no humans at all here?! Forget the movie’s wholesome messages and cute little jokes and generally happy vibe: This is a world in which people have apparently been cleared away, leaving the entire planet populated by sentient machines. Oh, the humanity. This vision of our cartoonish non-future collected $18 million.

Sex Tape landed in fourth place with $15 million. I’d natter on about how this comedy speaks to the depravity of mankind … but maybe the title does all the work for me. Moving on.

In fifth place is Transformers: Age of Extinction. The Autobots vacuumed up another $10 million for their already stuffed coffers, bringing the movie’s month-long domestic take to $227.2 million. Many secular reviewers would argue that the mere existence of this Michael Bay-directed movie is itself a pessimistic commentary on the state of humanity (it’s freshness rating is holding at 17% right now), but I wouldn’t go that far. No, I personally think that the Transformers movies are merely a long prequel to the world we see in Planes.

Hollywood may not be feeling particularly optimistic now. But at least the buttered popcorn is always tasty.

Final figures update: 1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: $36.3 million; 2. The Purge: Anarchy, $29.8 million; 3. Planes: Fire & Rescue, $17.5 million; 4. Sex Tape, $14.6 million; 5. Transformers: Age of Extinction: $9.8 million.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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