Box Office: Guardians of the Galaxy Retakes #1, If I Stay Almost Takes Second And Sin City 2 Bombs

Audiences are still hooked on a feeling.

The law of diminishing returns when it comes to blockbusters shows that they open strong as if in a sprint then sputter out in the weeks following. Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy thought to be the company’s riskiest venture since Iron Man in 2008 shattered the record for an August opening. However, even with the strength of that $90+ million opening it fell the following week too a quartet of teenaged mutant ninja turtles. While one of the best received mainstream movies of the summer had to play second fiddle to Michael Bay’s cinematic reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it appears kids have grown tired of the movie and would rather play with the toys instead.

With the turtles slipping, it allowed Guardians to reclaim the #1 spot in its fourth weekend of release. That just doesn’t happen very often during the summer. When it does it mostly occurs with comedies (think There’s Something About Mary back in 1997). Having yet to open in Japan and China, the Marvel franchise starter has amassed a worldwide total of $489 million and has become the highest grossing film of the summer in the U.S. This time next week it should have eclipsed both The Lego Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier to become the box office champ of the year. It may even be the first title this calendar year to make it $300 million stateside.

Chloe Grace Moretz isn’t a box office draw at this stage in her career, but she is two-for-two with respectable openings for both last year’s Carrie and the YA adaptation of If I Stay. Both films opened north of $16 million and in the case of If I Stay it was a few hundred thousand shy of topping the turtles for second place. As for those turtles that look more like mutated avocados the reboot has made $145 million domestically since its debut three weekends ago. Worldwide it is around $213 million, though even when it opens in Japan, China and the U.K. I think it will have a greater percentage of income in the U.S. than overseas.

If you were wondering if the long-delayed sequel to Sin City opened in fourth place, well you better venture further down the top ten list. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For flopped big time; just $6.4 million to finish in the eighth spot. The movie itself isn’t bad per se, it’s just more of the same of what we got nine years ago. The gap between the films doesn’t help either. The poor performance may be overshadowed by the likes of Guardians and Captain America but it is another example of how not every comic book or graphic novel cinematic translation is a guaranteed hit (Jonah Jex, anyone?).

Elsewhere at theaters, Let’s Be Cops had a strong hold in its second weekend with $11 million, as The Giver and The Expendables 3 drop hard. For The Expendables 3 the series is pretty much done, even with openings in China, Japan and Russia to come. It’s yet to crack $50 million around the globe.

With a budget of only $15 million, Sony Pictures’ football movie When the Game Stands Tall had a respectable $9 million in its debut to take fifth place. Not bad for a movie with no stars and little marketing. Unless I’m watching the wrong channels, I don’t think I saw a single ad for this football movie during a pre-season NFL game.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood may have fallen out of the top 10 after making the list last week, but the indie sensation is performing well having grossed $16.5m domestically. Two new titles in limited release, Love Is Strange and The One I Love, both had good per screen averages (Strange with a solid $126,552 PSA, and Love with a decent $55,100 PSA).

Top 10 weekend estimates below.

01. Guardians of the Galaxy — $17.6 Million ($251.88m)
02. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — $16.8 Million ($145.6m)
03. If I Stay — $16.3 Million
04. Let’s Be Cops — $11 Million ($45.2m)
05. When the Game Stands Tall — $9 Million
06. The Giver — $6.73 Million ($24.1m)
07. The Expendables 3 — $6.6 Million ($27.5m)
08. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — $6.4 Million
09. The Hundred-Foot Journey — $5.56 Million ($32.75m)
10. Into The Storm — $3.8 Million ($38.3m)

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