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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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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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