Weekend Box Office: Turtles Hold On To Top Spot While Sly Stumbles

The dog days of summer arrived at the North American box office as a trio of new releases, Let’s Be Cops, The Expendables 3 and The Giver all arrived with underwhelming numbers, each failing to open over $20 million. The premieres were also unable to fend off holdover hits Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy. With unappealing new releases and holdovers –Turtles and Guardians aside- starting to show their age, it came as no surprise that the box office was down a sharp 26% over last weekend but just a hair higher than last year at this time when Lee Daniels’ The Butler debuted to $24 million.

Paramount’s hit family action flick Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fell by roughly 57% from its big opening last weekend but managed to keep hold of the number one spot thanks to a $28 million weekend on 3,980 screens. To date, Leonardo and his pals have earned a big $117.6 million in just ten days and could work its way to $165 million domestically. Overseas totals stand at $67 million so far.

Guardians of the Galaxy stayed put in second place as the Marvel blockbuster smashed past the $200 million mark this past Friday. Off only 41%, the James Gunn-directed hit is showing great staying power and has earned $222 million after three weeks of release. The film should continue to be a moneymaker throughout the month and cruise along to at least $280 million by the end of its run. The film has cleared $196 million from foreign markets as well and will pass $200 million on Monday.

Fox’s R-rated comedy Let’s Be Cops arrived with lukewarm numbers this past Wednesday where it earned $5.2 million followed by $3.2 million on Thursday. For the weekend Cops arrested an estimated $17.7 million from 3,094 screens. It’s five-day total stands at $26 million. Critics slammed the $17 million production, which stars Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson as a pair of fake cops. They bestowed the Luke Greenfield-directed comedy with an 11% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 27/100 on Metacritic.

Sly and the AARP Gang were back in theaters this weekend with their latest geriatrics with guns offering, The Expendables 3. The latest feature in the globally popular franchise to feature Sly Stallone and a bevy of action stars from decades past –this time including the likes of Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson- failed to match the sizeable opening numbers that the first two installments did when they opened in August of 2010 and 2012, respectively. The original cleared $34.8 million in its first three days while the second shot up $28.5 million worth of ticket sales. Part three opened on 3,221 theaters Friday where it took in an anemic $16 million.

Several factors may have contributed to the lower-than-anticipated opening. The availability of a leaked copy of the film online has been downloaded over a million times in the past three weeks. The family-friendly PG-13 rating may have also turned off those hoping for a violent R-rated opus similar to the first two Expendables. Bad reviews may have swayed a few (35% Rotten Tomatoes, 35/100 Metacritics) but that is highly doubtful. Or perhaps it was simply the fact that it is the third Expendables feature in four years time. By this point, franchise fatigue is settling in faster than arthritis is to many of the cast members. Still, Sly shouldn’t worry too much. The foreign markets, despite the rampant piracy, should more than help make up for the weak domestic numbers once the movie opens overseas.

It’s been a couple of months since the last Young Adult adaptation arrived on movie screens. The last one was the critical and financial success The Fault in Our Stars, which went on to earn a big $124 million in June. The latest YA offering The Giver, starring Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift and Katie Holmes and directed by Phillip Noyce, is not going to be following in Stars’ steps. In fact, it will most likely be following in the footsteps of last August’s Young Adult dud The Mortal Instruments. The $30 million production didn’t get much love from critics (30% Rotten Tomatoes, 46/100 Metacritic) and there weren’t many ticket buyers for it either. The $25 million production earned a paltry $12.7 million from 3,003 screens in its debut.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

  1. Into the Storm (Warner) $7.7 million (-55%); $31.3 million
  2. The Hundred-Foot Journey (Disney) $7.1 million (-35%); $23.6 million
  3. Lucy (Universal) $5.3 million (-44%); $107 million
  4. Step Up All In (Lionsgate/Summit) $2.7 million (-58%) $11.9 million
  5. Boyhood (IFC) $2.1 million (+9%); $13.8 million

Next weekend sees the debut of the long-awaited Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The anticipated sequel opens alongside If I Stay and When the Game Stands Tall. Sin City should bring in enough of the Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez faithful to land at number one. The other two wide releases should witness mild bows at best.

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