Turtles, Guardians Prove Openers Expendable
By John Hamann
August 17, 2014
Good thing the openers in the first two weekends of August were strong, as we have a couple of swings and misses this weekend. The Expendables weren't going to save anything with results like this.
The theoretical "big" opener this weekend was The Expendables 3, Sylvester Stallone’s third attempt to mine big money out of a bevy of aging action stars, this time adding Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. For this third Expendables film, Lionsgate will be looking to stop the bleeding domestically and increase the take overseas. Opening at number one (at least on Wednesday) was Let’s Be Cops, the over-performing urban comedy with Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson. Our final new release was The Giver, a low-budget YA book adaption with Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep in supporting roles. While none of these new properties were out and out disasters, their blandness did leave room for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy to dominate for another weekend. Our two strong holdovers grossed more together than the three opening films did combined.
Yes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles repeats at number one, and while it is only the fourth film to repeat on top this summer, a repeat winner in August is not new – just ask The Expendables, which did it with both the original and sequel (it obviously won’t happen again). In its second weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earned another $28.4 million, and was off 57%. That’s a decent hold if you compare Turtles to a pop culture film like Godzilla, where the fanboys lit it up in weekend one, followed by a fairly severe drop of 67% in weekend two. Had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opened with a higher box office total like Godzilla, I think we would have seen a similar result in this frame.
Still, for a film with a B Cinemascore and absolute evisceration from critics, this one has held up better than I thought it would. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossed the $100 million mark on Saturday, joining Maleficent and World War Z as other films that reached $100 million in eight days. Remember that the budget here is $125 million, so Paramount will likely need a $350 million worldwide result to claim a profit (worldwide marketing costs are a bitch these days). This is enough to create a franchise, so expect more Michael Bay ludicrousness two years from now. So far, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has earned $117.6 million domestically, and has about $67 million overseas.
Finishing second is Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s latest shot at world domination. Following a $42.1 million second weekend where Guardians fell 55%, Marvel and Disney were looking to bounce back a little in the film's third weekend and lift that percentage decline above the 50% mark. Guardians did just that this weekend, earning $24.7 million and falling a much better 41%. Guardians of the Galaxy will eclipse Transformers 4’s $242 million domestic total to become the biggest film of the summer (released between May 1st and Labor Day). It has already earned $222.3 million domestically - it crossed the $200 million mark on Friday, a day faster than Transformers 4. It has now grossed more than both Thor films and the first Captain America, which should give a strong indication of the impact this Marvel movie is having. Overseas, Guardians is also performing well. Guardians has earned almost $200 million overseas, and still has some big markets in Europe and Asia to conquer.