In what has, so far, been a very lucrative August for major American studios, this most recent weekend saw one major new release tank, and two others perform only modestly. Nevertheless, reports put the frame up 6% over its equivalent last year. Major questions must now be asked, though, regarding the nature of franchise expansion in Hollywood, and the viability of the YA genre.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($28,523,147)
Whoever would have guessed not only that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would top the US box office but that it would do so for two weekends running? Its 56.5% decline on its opening is steep, no doubt, but not as steep as might have been expected, given the content of the film and its reception with audiences. That recently-confirmed sequel looks to be a very smart choice for Paramount.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy ($25,115,564)
3. Let's Be Cops ($17,813,722)
Not a bad weekend gross for Fox's relatively low-budget comedy, which would have been bigger had the film not opened last Wednesday. Major August comedies can normally expect larger grosses upon opening than this, but not all of them succeed, and this isn't a major release anyway. One must despair, though, that the weekend's brightest spot among new releases is the one championing the police force, given recent developments in Ferguson, Missouri.
4. The Expendables 3 ($15,879,645)
The first two Expendables movies were rated R. Both opened over $28 million. The drop on The Expendables 2, which itself marked a drop on its immediate predecessor, is well over 40% - just about unheard-of for a major summer sequel. The PG-13 rating likely turned off some of the series' hardcore fans, while the online leak a few weeks back likely sapped away considerable demand too. But no matter how this is spun, this ranks as one of the biggest flops in recent summer seasons at the movies.
5. The Giver ($12,305,016)
The Weinstein Company never looked to be on strong footing with this YA adaptation, given the failures of films like Beautiful Creatures, The Host and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones last year. Actually, this isn't a horrible start for the film, but TWC's stab at cracking the teenage female audience hadn't caught on, it's quite clear.
6. Into the Storm ($7,892,293)
7. The Hundred-Foot Journey (7,176,092)
8. Lucy ($5,493,685)
9. Step Up All In ($2,659,026)
10. Hercules ($2,127,894)
36. The Trip to Italy ($71,172)
In opening his sequel to The Trip in half the theatres of the first, Michael Winterbottom has clocked a slight decrease in opening weekend gross but a major uptick in per-theatre average, which is the weekend's highest by a fair margin.
59. Frank ($16,056)
Magnolia's comedy-drama had a bit more buzz than this tepid start suggests when it made the festival runs earlier this year. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy, and had been expected to do better than this.
60. Life After Beth ($15,843)
Not one of A24's biggest new releases, but then it was never going to be, and certainly not with that VOD release. In just two theatres, then, this is pretty decent. They've sure got a handle on their target demographic... except for The Rover.
69. Jealousy ($5,533)
Not many people rly wanna see a black-and-white Philippe Garrel relationship drama in America, alas.
72. Fort McCoy ($4,070)
81. Jake Squared ($1,681)
Three new releases hit over 2,500 theatres next weekend, though none over 3,000, so it won't be one of those breakout August weekends we almost started getting used to seeing there. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the most high-profile, but it's on shaky ground coming over nine years after the first Sin City. If I Stay ought to open on top instead, and When the Game Stands Tall will target Christian audiences, albeit indirectly.