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'Apes' rules North American box office for second straight weekend

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sci-fi sequel "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" beat a new horror flick, an animated family film and an adult comedy to keep its grip on the U.S. and Canadian box office title for a second straight weekend.

"Apes" collected $36 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, according to estimates from Rentrak, only the second summer film to top the box office for two consecutive weekends. Low-budget horror film "The Purge: Anarchy" finished in second place with $28.4 million.

Another new big release, Walt Disney Co's animated "Planes: Fire and Rescue," grabbed third place with $18 million, while the comedy "Sex Tape" took in $15 million for the No. 4 spot.

"Apes," a sequel to the 2011 franchise reboot "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," has rung up some $242 million worldwide since its July 11 debut, according to distributor 20th Century Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox. The movie stars Andy Serkis as Caesar, a brainy ape who leads the interactions with humans in the battle for dominance.

"The Purge: Anarchy," a follow-up to 2013 summer hit "The Purge," tells the story of a couple whose car breaks down at the start of an annual purge, a 12-hour period in which crime is legal. Produced for $9 million, it ranks as another successful, inexpensive movie produced by horror filmmaker Jason Blum.

"This is going to be a super-profitable film for the studio," said Nikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp unit that released the film.

Noting that "the market has been depressed for these kinds of films," Rocco added that the solid $28 million opening "was better than we would have hoped for."

The $50 million "Planes: Fire and Rescue," another sequel, features the voice of U.S. comedian and actor Dane Cook as a crop dusting plane that joins forces with a team of rescue vehicles to fight a wildfire, and follows last summer's "Planes," a spinoff of Disney's blockbuster "Cars" films.

"Sex Tape" stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a married couple who accidentally upload a racy video of themselves onto the Internet. The movie cost about $40 million, according to Sony Corp's movie studio, which distributed it.

"We hoped for a bit more domestically," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony, referring to the opening.

"But at the end of the day we'll be profitable," he added, noting that, internationally, the film looked to be doing business on par with the earlier Diaz comedy hit, "Bad Teacher."

Rounding out the top five, the summer hit "Transformers: Age of Extinction," starring Mark Wahlberg and a cast of form-changing robots, grossed $10 million for a U.S. total of $227 million.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Paul Simao)

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