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Weekend Box Office: Guardians Becomes Top Movie of Summer as Sin City Gets Massacred

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By Chris Kavan - 08/24/14 at 08:34 PM CT

Once again, the box office was saved by the strong performances of two of the biggest movies of the year - not so much by the new films. It was a win for the overall box office, however, as the top 12 earned $105.4 million - up about 17% compared to last year and continuing the August win streak. Pretty much the two biggest surprises came on opposite ends of the spectrum as a four-week old movie hit the top spot while what was looking to be a high-profile sequel landed with a pathetic thud. There is still one more week left in August - so we'll see if the month can sustain one more year-to-year improvement.

1) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

It was a masterful weekend for Disney and Marvel, as the off-beat heroes of Guardians of the Galaxy rose back to the top spot with $17.6 million in its fourth weekend. It was down a light 30%. That gave the movie a new total of $251.88 million - and, in the process, surpassed Transformers: Age of Extinction ($243.8 million) to become the highest-grossing film of the summer. It will only be a few days before it also tops Captain America: The Winter Solider ($259.7 million) to become the top-grossing film of 2014. With the resurgence, it's looking more and more likely that Guardians is going to be able to top the $300 million mark. Although there are some high-profile movies yet, it's hard to see many other films topping this one (maybe Hunger Games).

2) TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Exchanging places with Guardians, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dipped just over 41% to land in the second-place spot with $16.8 million. After 17 days, the movie has brought in $145.6 million and still looks to be right on track to cross the $175 million mark before it leaves theaters. It's going to come close, but it's likely to land just outside the top-ten grossing films of the year. Given the reaction to the film has been muted - that's still an impressive accomplishment.

3) IF I STAY

The top-grossing newcomer of the week was the one aimed at young women. If I Stay brought in $16.35 million in third place. That topped last week's premier of The Giver ($12.3 million) and the similarly-themed Charlie St. Cloud ($12.4 million). In terms of August releases, it topped the concert movie One Direction: This is Us ($15.8 million), which went after the same audience as well. While it wasn't quite in league with the well-received Fault in Our Stars (which opened with over 448 million), it can still be considered a win - especially considering the light marketing effort as well as the modest $11 million budget. It can also be considered a win for actress ChloŽ Grace Moretz, who hasn't has the best box office draw lately. The audience was decidedly female (77%) and younger (61% under 25). They gave it an "A-" Cinemeascore, but this type of film is mostly front-loaded, so it is likely to fall off fast. Still, it's looking at at least a $40 million total.

4) LET'S BE COPS

Another film that continues to blow away expectations is Let's Be Cops. Not a hit with either critics or really general audiences, it has, none-the-less, amassed a tidy little sum for itself. With another $11 million (down just over 38%), the cop comedy has now made $45.2 million - well on its way to tripling its $17 million budget. It should last at least a couple more weeks in theaters.

5) WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL

The power of feel-good sports movies wasn't quite enough to give When the Game Stands Tall a stellar debut, but the $9 million was good enough to break into the top five for the weekend. That opening is a bit lower but still in line with Million Dollar Arm ($10.5 million) and Draft Day ($9.7 million). But given the movie has just a $15 million budget, even a modest return is going to be a win. The film did earn an "A-" Cinemascore as well and it should manage a total between the $25 to $30 million. Sports movies are pretty much a given hard sell overall - so this result is no surprise.

Outside the top five: What is a surprise this weekend is the incredibly poor debut of Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. Once again Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller teamed up to direct, and a pretty hefty cast was brought on (or brought back) but it opened to just $6.47 million (8th place). That was a huge 78% drop from the original film and represents the third-worst opening for Rodriguez (not counting El Mariachi - behind another disappointing sequel, Machete Kills and Shorts). The stunning drop can be attributed to a few factors: the length of time it took to hit theaters, the fact the original film's "it" factor has worn off and the much more luke-warm critical response. Take everything together and it represents a perfect storm of failure. The movie is going to close nowhere near the original film's $74.1 million and, in fact, will be lucky to even top $20 million.

For the final weekend of the year, the horror film set in the catacombs of France, As Above, So Below will open as well as the Pierce Brosnan crime/thriller The November Man. It's likely to be a quiet end to a record-setting month.

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