Weekend Box Office: Guardians Return to Top Spot as Summer Winds Down

The nation’s box office continued its slow crawl to the seasonal finish line as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy returned to the number one position in its fourth weekend. Studios continued to dump out undesirable product into the marketplace as the latest teen weepie If I Stay arrived to okay numberswhile the sports drama When the Game Stands Tall and the belated sequel Sin City: A Dame To Kill For were outright duds.

Guardians of the Galaxy slid a mere 30% in its fourth weekend, as the James Gunn feature became the highest-grossing film of the 2014 summer movie season. Groot and Gamora earned an estimated $17.6 million on 3,371 screens to bring its total to $251.8 million. Word-of-mouth has kept business chugging along all month and should continue to do so right through Labor Day and well into September. Guardians should wind down its wildly successful run just over $300 million domestically and an even bigger total from foreign markets, which currently stand at $237 million.

Another August surprise hit, Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, continues to bring in the family crowds as the season draws to a close. The film eased a moderate 41% to earn $16.8 million on 3,864 screens in its third weekend. To date, the action hit has earned a great $145.6 million. With much of its target audience returning to school starting this week, Turtles will begin to slow down but may still work its way to the $175 million mark by the end of its run. Foreign totals currently stand at $93.2 million.

In third place was Warner’s adaptation of the young adult novel If I Stay. The drama starring Chloe Grace Moretz opened on 2,907 screens Friday where it met with critical indifference (41% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 47/100 Metacritic) but also a fair amount of the book’s fans lining up to buy a ticket. The $11 million production earned an estimated $16.3 million in its first three days, a total better than last weekend’s young adult offering The Giver but far lower than June’s The Fault In Our Stars.

Fox’s Let’s Be Cops had a solid second weekend of release as the R-rated comedy only slipped 38% from its debut numbers. The comedy earned an estimated $11 million on 3,140 screens in its sophomore round to bring its two-week total to a decent $45 million. The $17 million production should make its way to $60-65 million.

Rounding out the top five for the weekend was the $15 million inspirational sports drama When the Game Stands Tall. The TriStar Pictures release got tackled by critics (18% Rotten Tomatoes, 47/100 Metacritic) and largely ignored by filmgoers. The film, directed by Thomas Carter and starring Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, Clancy Brown and Michael Chiklis, opened on 2,673 screens to earn a meek $9 million in its first three days. The film marks the second football-themed film of 2014 to underperform at the box office, the first being the Kevin Costner feature Draft Day.

Nine years ago, the first Sin City arrived on screens and went on to earn over $158 million worldwide. Critics and the public enjoyed Robert Rodriguez’s visually stunning take on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, with many clamoring for a sequel. They got their wish this weekend with the new $60 million production Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Judging from the horrible $6.4 million taken in from 2,894 theaters to land in eighth place, the filmmakers may have waited just a little too long to cash in on the original’s success.

Reviews were fairly weak for the belated follow up, which was directed by Rodriguez and stars Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba. The film scored a 43% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 44/100 on Metacritic. A 20% drop in business from Friday-to-Saturday suggests that fans weren’t all that jazzed it either. The opening for Dame marks the fourth worst all-time opening for Rodriguez.

The remainder of the top ten are:

  1. The Giver (Weinstein) $6.7 million (-45%); $24.1 million
  1. The Expendables 3 (Lionsgate) $6.6 million (-58%); $27.5 million
  1. The Hundred-Foot Journey (Disney) $5.5 million (-22%); $32.7 million
  2. Into the Storm (Warner) $3.8 million (-52%); $38.3 million

Next weekend brings Labor Day and the close of the 2014 summer movie season. The two wide releases for the holiday weekend are the Pierce Brosnan action flick The November Man and the horror offering As Above, So Below. With neither generating much buzz, watch for Guardians of the Galaxy to continue its reign in the number one spot.

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