*According to the AP, Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” starring James Franco is neither a sequel nor a prequel, but it does have built-in brand recognition and a fresh interpretation of the original series. So expect no monkeying around with these apes as they rise to the top of the weekend box office chart with an opening gross approaching $35 million.

Sony’s “The Smurfs” scared the boots off some high-profile Western dudes this past weekend when it ended up a very close second behind the favored “Cowboys & Aliens” from Universal/Dreamworks. This time around, look for “The Smurfs” to leave “Cowboys” in the dust for a second-place finish around $20 million, compared to the high teens for the third-place “Cowboys.”

Actually, “The Smurfs” has already pulled ahead of “Cowboys” in the midweek box office race and now has a higher North American gross than its competitor. By Sunday night, that total could be nearing $75 million.

Read/learn more at Yahoo News.