Apes are in.  20th Century Fox's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" easily conquered the box office this weekend grossing $54 million in its debut.   With a budget of approximately $100 million, "Apes" should easily be a nice hit for Fox which has only had "X-Men: First Class" and "Rio" to really cheer for this year.

One of the more critically acclaimed prequels in some time, "Apes" is the commercial debut of Rupert Wyatt, a British director who first made noise stateside with his 2008 Sundance thriller "The Escapist."  Andy Serkis portrayed the lead ape Cesear and has received massive kudos for his motion-capture performance.  Whether that can really be translated into a best supporting actor nomination as some are suggesting (the first ever for a motion-capture performance), remains to be seen.

Debuting with just $13.5 million was the Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds body switching comedy "The Change-Up."  There will be lots of Monday morning quarterbacking as to why this is one of the few R-rated comedies not to hit this summer after the successes of "Bridesmaids," "Horrible Bosses" and "Bad Teacher."  It is likely a variety of reasons including a bit of Ryan Reynolds overload after the bad reception for "Green Lantern" and the fact Reynolds and Bateman may not be that distinctive enough as personalities for a body switching movie.  Snarky actor switches bodies with another snarky actor?  That might not seem like a worthy reason to shell out a $12 movie ticket these days.

Sticking to the second slot for the second weekend in a row was Sony Pictures' "Smurfs." The family friendly CG-animated/live action hybrid found another $21 million for $76.2 million in just 10 days.  The picture faces little competition for the kid market until "Spy Kids 4" debuts on Aug. 19.

Dropping to third was "Cowboys & Aliens."  The Jon Favreau adventure grossed another $15.8 million for just $67.4 million in 10 days.  The expensive tentpole will be lucky to eke out a $100 million domestic gross when all is said and done.

New releases this week include "The Help" on Wednesday and "30 Minutes or Less" on Friday.

Final box office figures are released on Monday.