Box Office: Ninja Turtles Repeats At #1, Guardians Remains Strong, The Giver and Expendables 3 Flop

Do enough HGH and this could be you.

Is it a crime against humanity that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not only took the #1 slot last weekend with $65 million but was able to be the best performer for two weeks in a row? Not in the slightest and I’ll tell you why. Why I had expected Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to narrowly beat TMNT last weekend it is still performing as if it were out of this world. It only took the movie 15 days to hit $200 million, and it is the fastest film to hit that milestone in 2014.

That’s right. Not Captain America, Transformers or any other summer blockbuster can make that claim.

Over the weekend Guardians added another $24.7 million to bring its three-week total in North America to $222.2m. Worldwide it is $419 million and growing. With strong legs and only dropping 41% from a week prior, the movie has bested all non-sequels from Marvel Studios save for one, Iron Man (it made $320m back in 2008). Given a few more weeks it will surpass Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be the highest grossing movie in North America for 2014. Is $300 million a possibility? Maybe, but August is strange when it comes to box office attendance. It may surge at the front of the month then deplete before Labor Day with the start of a new school year.

Outside it was feast or famine (mostly famine) for the newcomers looking to take a bite out the box office. You know things are bad when an adaptation of a seminal YA novel from Lois Lowry (The Giver) and featuring Meryl Streep couldn’t do better than a third Expendables or the poorly received 20th Century Fox comedy Let’s Be Cops starring two guys you can see for free on network TV on The New Girl with Zooey Deschanel.

If history has shown us anything, when it comes to The Expendables franchise, more money will be made overseas than it will in the states. The Expendables 3‘s $16.2 million opening is less than half of what the first in the franchise did in 2010. Lionsgate will surely blame the film being leaked online as a mitigating factor on performance (advertising in the final week leading up to the release pushed the “you need to see this on the big screen”-type tagline hard), but considering how it was received – with a few positive reviews from different outlets, but more negative ones in general – it’s easy to see why audiences would avoid a retread action movie where heroes have names like Smilee, Luna and Bonaparte (WTF?).

Let’s Be Cops, which has the misfortune of coming out after the police shooting in Missouri, opened Wednesday and did just enough to outbest Sylvester Stallone and his crew of “expendables.” Costing around $17 million, it has grossed $26.1 million so far. I don’t think it will have the same word-of-mouth that We’re the Millers did to carry it to nine-figure territory, but it may be a modest hit in the end.

It looks like The Weinstein Company picked the wrong Y.A. novel to back. Even with Oscar winners Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, the intended audience didn’t seem to care. Nevertheless, the YA genre is far from dead, so expect more studios to pluck novel until the genre is no longer lucrative.

Besides these new releases, the rest of the top ten was business as usual. Disney’s The Hundred-Foot Journey ($23 million after two weeks) is nice counter-programming (as well as comfort food) for older audiences. Luc Besson’s Lucy cracked $100 million in North America after four weeks, and it may be one of the rare instances where an action-type picture grosses more domestically than it will worldwide. Though no longer in the top ten, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes reached the celebrated milestone of eclipsing more than $200 million in the U.S.

As someone who champions the success of smaller films in a busy marketplace, I’m loving how well Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has done. The film expanded into 771 theaters and cracked the top 10. Its domestic total is $13.8 million and worldwide it’s at $22 million. This is big news for distributor IFC Films who backed Linklater and his ambitious idea to shoot a movie over the course of twelve years. This time next week the movie will have surpassed Y Tu Mama Tambien to become the company’s second highest grossing film. For the #1 slot, that one goes to the $241m bohemoth known as My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Sadly, Boyhood has no chance in hell of making it anywhere near that figure.

Top 10 estimates below.

01. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) – $28.4 Million ($117.6m)
02. Guardians of the Galaxy – $24.7 Million ($222.2m)
03. Let’s Be Cops – $17.7 Million ($26.1m)
04. The Expendables 3 – $16.2 Million
05. The Giver – $12.7 Million
06. Into the Storm – $7.7 Million ($31.3m)
07. The Hundred-Foot Journey – $7.1 Million ($23.6m)
08. Lucy – $5.3 Million ($107.5m)
09. Step Up All In – $2.7 Million ($11.8m)
10. Boyhood – $2.1 Million ($13.8m)

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