‘Ninja Turtles’ Unseat ‘Guardians’ in Box Office

A gang of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” pushed aside superhero misfits in “Guardians of the Galaxy” to take the top slot at the box office.

Paramount Pictures’ revival of the 1990s “Ninja Turtle” franchise collected $65 million at theaters in the U.S and Canada, researcher Rentrak Corp. said today in an e-mailed statement. The film walloped estimates of about $40 million. Walt Disney Co.’s “Guardians” collected $41.5 million in its second weekend.

A parade of new releases has restocked theaters in recent weeks, giving audiences reason to turn out. That’s been good for cinema chains and studios like Paramount and Disney, which posted a record August debut last weekend with “Guardians.”

“‘Turtles’ is going to benefit big from nostalgic parents and their kids, who have had very few options in theaters this summer,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst, before the results. “‘Ninja’ is looking like it’s going to overperform big time.”

Megan Fox, who plays fearless reporter April O’Neil, and Will Arnett as her cameraman, Vern Fenwick, work with the turtles to save New York from the evil Shredder and his Foot Clan. Raphael is played by Alan Ritchson. Jonathan Liebesman, whose credits include 2012’s “Wrath of the Titans,” directed.

The “shelled foursome” disappointed critics, registering 19 percent positive reviews on aggregator Rottentomatoes.com. Audiences gave it a 64 percent positive rating.

Tunnel Vision

“The four unruly sewer-dwelling title characters look streamlined but no longer sweet in their goofy freakishness as they battle Shredder and his minions in a New York City that’s as plain as the movie,” wrote Nicolas Rapold in a review for the New York Times. “This new adventure is executed so ordinarily, and with such tunnel vision, that it feels homogenized.”

“Ninja Turtles” had been forecast to collect $40 million, according to Boxoffice.com. The film had a production budget of $125 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

The first “Ninja Turtles” film, based on the comic book of the same name, was released in 1990 and garnered ticket sales of 10 times its $13.5 million budget. Three subsequent films, the latest in 2007, produced lower revenue. The filmmakers spent 70 days working in New York, spending more than $55 million, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

“Guardians” was forecast to take in $44 million domestically in its second week, according to Boxoffice.com. It has so far collected $175.9 million.

The film stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, an American pilot who becomes the target of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by the super-villain Ronan. The story of Quill and the collection of misfit “Guardians” had the third-biggest opening weekend of the year.

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