Not humans, Smurfs, or aliens, it's the apes that rocked the movie theaters this weekend. Rupert Wyatt's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" topped the box office charts at the end of this week with massive $77.4 million global ticket sales.

The distributor 20th Century Fox said on Sunday that the big-budget, effect-rich movie earned a strong $54 million from its ticket sales at the theaters in U.S. and Canada. In 25 international markets, the movie did business for $23.4 million, Reuters reported.

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes", starring James Franco and John Lithgow, is similar to the fourth film in the original Planet of the Apes series, "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (1972). But, with a new story, the 2011 film does not fit into that series' continuity.

It's the positive reviews coupled with "ground-breaking (effects) technology" and "a very strong emotional story" that attracted audiences to the theaters, said Chris Aronson, senior vice president for domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox. The movie cost about $93 million to make.

With $21 million domestic and $45.2 million overseas ticket sales, "The Smurfs" grabbed the second place during this weekend. On the other hand, big-budget sci-fi "Cowboys & Aliens" finished third in its second weekend with $15.7 million. However, the movie, directed by Jon Favreau, experienced a drop of 57 percent from last week.

"Cowboys & Aliens" is followed by comedy "The Change-Up" with $13.5 million domestic sales and superhero flick "Captain America: The First Avenger" with domestic sales of $13 million.

The weekend revenue for the top 12 films touched 28.3 percent to $157 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com reported.

However, with attendance down to 5.7 percent, this year's domestic box-office sales came down 4.8 percent to $6.7 billion.