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Weekend Box Office: Ninja Turtles Cut Down Guardians of the Galaxy

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By Chris Kavan - 08/10/14 at 09:14 PM CT

Although early indications pointed to a knock-down fight between two titans for the weekend box office crown, in the end, it was no fight at all. With Turtles leading the way, and still posting a strong second weekend, the top 12 at the box office hit $173.6 million - 22% above the same weekend in 2013 and still pointing toward an all time August record (possibly topping the $1 billion mark). Granted, it will still not be able to turn the year around, but at least for one month things will look bright, as there are still plenty of blockbuster films still to come.


It turns out that nostalgia along with a healthy dose of the younger crowd, was the perfect mix to launch the latest incarnation of the Ninja Turtles into the stratosphere. The turtle power was strong at the box office, the the tune of $65 million (4th all time for the month of August). In comparison, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra only opened with $54.7 million. Granted, the Turtles have some 3D to thank but overall, that is an excellent start. Critics were a harsh (19% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences were a bit nicer (a "B" Cinemeascore), though not completely enthusiastic. Still, if Turtles follows a similar patter to Rise of Cobra, it will wind up above $150 million for sure, and could easily approach the $175 million mark. It seems the studio was more than happy with the results, as a sequel has already been announced. With Turtles also having a strong international presence, it should ultimately be able to top $300 million overseas. Much like the recent Transformers films, I don't know if Turtles deserved this much of a response, but if anything, it just goes to show that when you can attract multiple generations, the results are certainly more impressive.


With Ninja Turtles opening stronger than expected, the well-received Guardians of the Galaxy had to settle for runner-up at the box office. Dropping 56%, Guardians took in $41.5 million over the weekend, and giving it a new total of $175.9 million. The drop was on par with Captain America: The Winter Solider and Thor: The Dark World. But more impressive, Guardians now holds the distinction of having the best 10-day total of the year and also has the best second-weekend of any movie this summer. Even though word-of-mouth suggested Guardians would have had an even bigger second weekend, the fact remains that by next week it will top the $200 million mark and is still well on pace to wind up at around the $260 million mark - and could easily hold the title of top-grossing movie of 2014 when it ends its run.


Though Turtles might have had the most thunder, it was still a decent week for (most) of the other new releases. Into the Storm - the CGI tornado-fueled action film brought in just over $18 million in its debut. It matched the August debut of Final Destination 5 and was ahead of similar B-movie themed Snakes on a Plane ($15.2 million). Granted, it was nowhere near the opening of Twister ($41 million) but one has to remember, Twister had a much more grounded story (and characters) whereas Into the Storm is all about the spectacle. The movie drew 58% female and 71% over 25 and was awarded a "B" Cinemascore as well. This movie is likely to be very front-loaded, it will likely fall short of $50 million.


The foodies were out in force, as the romantic drama The Hundred-Foot Journey managed a nice fourth-place showing with $11.1 million. With Helen Mirren and Bollywood legend Om Puri on hand, the film drew a heavily older audience (69% over 35) - traditionally the older crowd tends to support a movie for longer. Given some good word of mouth, Journey should wind up near the $40 million mark. It's not going to match the might of Eat Pray Love or Julie & Julia (both films that opened at or over $20 million), but it should enjoy a decent run given its modest $22 million budget, will also draw a profit.


The philosophical sci-fi action film dipped 49% in its third weekend, adding $9.33 million for a new total of $97.3 million. The film will have no problem reaching the $100 million mark this week and is on pace to nearly triple its $40 million budget.

Outside the top five: As reported earlier, every Step-Up film released has opened lower than its predecessor at the box office. And, I'm happy to report, that Step-Up: All In didn't break the streak! All In had a meager $6.57 million opening - down 44% compared to the last Step-Up movie. Even given its somewhat baffling international appeal, it would be amazing if another Step-Up film saw the light of day at the theater (maybe they've learned their lesson and will now go straight-to-video). Also of note is that out of the six movies Lionsgate/Summitt has opened in over 2000 theaters this year, only the hit Divergent has managed to open to over $10 million.

Both Boyhood and A Most Wanted Man added a handful of theaters to their counts and while they dropped a few spots (Man dropped from 10th to 12th place, Boyhood from 11th to 13th), both films also crossed the $10 million mark. Man stands at $10.4 million while Boyhood is sitting pretty at $10.6 million.

Next weeks the hits keep rolling - The Expendables 3 opens (we'll see if a major leak resulting in downloads on various sites will eat into its profits), along with The Giver, based on another best-selling young adult novel. We also have Let's Be Cops - a comedy about a pair of fakes cops who decide to become the real deal. I have a feeling it won't match the success of 22 Jump Street.


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