Weekend Box Office: Guardians Hold Court as Summer Movie Season Folds

Rest In Peace, 2014 Summer Movie Season.

The number one film of the season, Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy, stayed put as the number one movie at the North American box office this weekend as the summer movie season ended with a whimper. Two new films, Universal’s As Above/So Below and Relativity’s The November Man, were both dead on arrival. With schools going back into session and people enjoying summer’s remaining days, business was down 21% from last weekend as well as 5% from last year at this time.

With $16.3 million in additional sales from 3,462 theaters in its fifth weekend Guardians of the Galaxy became the highest-grossing film of the year. With $274.6 million in the bank, the Marvel/Disney blockbuster’s next milestone will be the $300 million mark, which it should hit within the next two weeks. Overseas, the sci-fi action comedy has earned $273 million and still has several big markets ahead of it including China and Japan.

Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stood its ground in second place for its fourth weekend in the market. Still on 3,543 screens the Turtles earned an estimated $11.75 million. Off only 30% the Michael Bay-produced hit has earned a great $162.4 million. Foreign totals have contributed $112 million.

Warner’s teen drama If I Stay stayed put in third place for a second weekend. The film was off 40% from its opening weekend numbers to earn $9.2 million from 3,003 screens to bring its ten-day total to $29.8 million and could finish with a respectable (in relation to its budget) $45 million.

Low-budget horror films tend to do quite well over the Labor Day weekend. This year was a different story as Universal’s As Above/So Below landed with a thud in third place. The thriller opened on 2,640 screens where it scared up a weak $8.3 million. Critical notices were awful (33% Rotten Tomatoes and 37/100 on Metacritic) and ticket buyers were voicing their viewing remorse by branding the feature with a “C-”.

Another new release that went largely ignored was the Pierce Brosnan spy flick The November Man. The Relativity Pictures release opened on 2,776 screens this past Wednesday to get a jump on the weekend. With only $1.6 million collected over two days, they shouldn’t have bothered. For the weekend The November Man earned a poor $7.6 million. The film co-stars Olga Kurylenko and Will Patton and was directed by Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, Thirteen Days). Critics panned the flick, giving it a 36% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 38/100 on Metacritic. Unlike As Above/So Below, The November Man got a decent “B+” from viewers via CinemaScore.

Just outside the top ten was Sony’s 30th Anniversary reissue of the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters on 784 screens. Basically serving as a big-screen advertisement for the upcoming reissue on Blu-ray, the Ivan Reitman film earned an okay $1.6 million for its first three days of reissue. Rounding out the top five for the weekend was Fox’s R-rated midsize hit Let’s Be Cops with an estimated $8.2 million from 3,010 theaters. Off 24%, the film has earned $57.3 million to date and should finish near the $75 million mark.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

7.         When the Game Stands Tall (Sony) $5.6 million (-33%); $16.3 million

8.         The Giver (Weinstein) $5.2 million (-18%); $31.5 million

9.         The Hundred-Foot Journey (Disney) $4.6 million (-14%); $39.3 million

10.       The Expendables 3 (Lionsgate) $3.5 million (-46%) $33.1 million

Next weekend should prove to be one of the lowest grossing of the year as only one film goes into wide release: Freestyle Releasing’s The Identical starring Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta. Paramount is also reissuing Forrest Gump on 300 IMAX screens in honor of its 20th Anniversary. Watch for Guardians of the Galaxy to stay at number one again.



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