NEW YORK — Monkey business still pays. “War for the Planet of the Apes” took down “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at the North American box office, opening with an estimated $56.5 million in ticket sales.

Though some initially expected a closer race, “Spider-Man” dropped to second with $45.2 million after its $117 million debut last weekend. But director Matt Reeves’ “War for the Planet of the Apes” pulled away thanks to strong reviews for the third installment of the rebooted “Apes” franchise. “War for the Planet of the Apes” won a 94 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “What I think sets the ‘Planet of the Apes’ … apart from other franchise films, is that it’s not gratuitous sequel-itis,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s distribution chief.

– From news service reports