‘Ninja Turtles’ Unseats ‘Guardians’ as Box-Office No. 1

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

Paramount Pictures’ revival of the 1990s “Ninja Turtle” franchise collected $65.6 million at the box office 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 $42.1 million in its second weekend for second place.

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.” This past weekend the 10 top-grossing films generated 23 percent more in domestic ticket sales than a year earlier.

“It was a much stronger-than-expected opening, and that usually leads to a pretty good run,” said Paul Sweeney, a media and entertainment analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. “‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ shows that audiences will come back for franchises that are well known and tried and true.”

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,” from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount studio, 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.

Bounty Hunt

“Guardians” was forecast to take in $44 million domestically in its second week, according to BoxOffice.com. It has so far collected $176.5 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.

In other new releases, the disaster thriller “Into the Storm” from Warner Bros. generated $17.3 million in ticket sales to place third. It was predicted to earn $14 million by BoxOffice.com.

Directed by Steven Quale, who previously directed “Final Destination 5,” the film spans a single day in one town that is ravaged by deadly cyclones.

Critical Success

Actress Helen Mirren returns to the big screen in “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” directed by Lasse Hallström. The film pleased critics, registering 63 percent positive reviews on Rottentomatoes.com. The Disney release collected $11 million in its debut, beating a forecast of $10.3 million by BoxOffice.com.

Also opening was Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s musical drama “Step Up All In.” The film debuted in sixth place and collected $6.5 million, missing a forecast of $10.2 million.

Weekend sales for the top 10 films were $169.7 million, up from $137.7 million in the year-earlier period. Sales year to date are down 5.4 percent to $6.64 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for Aug. 8 to Aug. 10.

                     Rev.    Pct.             Avg./   Total
Movie               (mln)    Chg. Theaters  Theater   (mln)  Wks
1 Ninja Turtles     $65.6     --   3,845     $17,055   $65.6  1
2 Guardians          42.1    -55   4,088      10,305   176.5  2
3 Into The Storm     17.3     --   3,434       5,051    17.3  1
4 Hundred-Foot       11.0     --   2,023       5,427    11.0  1
5 Lucy                9.5    -48   3,147       3,015    97.5  3
6 Step Up All In      6.5     --   2,072       3,123     6.5  1
7 Hercules            5.7    -48   2,896       1,984    63.5  3
8 Get On Up           5.2    -62   2,469       2,104    23.1  2
9 Planet Of The Apes  4.3    -50   2,306       1,880   197.8  5
10 Planes             2.5    -59   2,280       1,075    53.0  4

Top 10 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $169.7 $137.7 +23

Year-to-date Revenue

2014 2013 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $6,642 $7,025 -5.4 Source: Rentrak Corp.
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