US Box Office Report

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles startle Guardians Of The Galaxy

By Rich Matthews

Well, that didn't last long. While Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy continued to impress at the US domestic box office this weekend, it's reign at the top only lasted one week. Paramount and Nickelodeon's relaunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, produced by Transformers guru Michael Bay and starring that franchise's Megan Fox, confounded expectations and outperformed all expectations – much as Guardians did last week. Taking in $65m at home and a further £32.3m internationally, Paramount wasted no time in announcing a sequel for summer 2016 such was the level of success.

Between them, Turtles and Guardians have managed to boost the ailing summer box office, which was running more than 20 per cent behind 2013 and has now clawed back at least three per cent of that deficit thanks to these two fantastical tentpoles. Whether TMNT can hold on to pole position longer than Guardian's short-lived triumph will hinge on whether anyone really cares about seeing Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson together in one movie anymore, with The Expendables 3 vying with Fox Jake Johnson/Damon Wayans Jr comedy Let's Be Cops for top newcomer plaudits.

For its part, Guardians showed the now-standard decline for Marvel films of 56 per cent to bag a further $41.5, taking its overall US tally to $175.9m and its Earthbound gross to $313.2m. It still has a long way to catch up stablemate Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $713.9m, but then it has only been on release for 10 days – it will be interesting to see how quickly interest tails off now that it's been classified a hit.

Of the other new releases for the weekend, Warner Bros disaster flick Into The Storm followed behind Guardians at three, scooping up a middling $18m for a $50m-budgeted movie, while Lasse Hallstrom's dramedy The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, came in fourth with $11.1m. You have to spring over five to find the weekend's final new entry, with Step Up All In only managing sixth with a franchise lowpoint of $6.6m. But don't feel sorry for the Lionsgate/Summit dance sequel, because it's already body-popped to $26.2m internationally for a global haul of $32.8m.

In between the walking and the dancing, Scarlett Johansson continued to show strong legs of her own in Luc Besson's Lucy, with grabbed a further $9.3m at five, to swell its total to $97.4m, plus an extra $5m from only three international territories, so expect those global numbers to swell soon, especially from Besson's native France. Dwayne Johnson alas showed that he while he's good as saving existing franchises, he still isn't a lock at starting new ones, with Brett Ratner's Hercules already down to seventh with $5.7m for an underwhelming domestic total of $63.5m and a global cume of $136m. Compare it to the similarly themed The Scorpion King, which opened 12 years ago to $91m and $165m worldwide, and it seems The Rock hasn't made much progress – especially if you adjust for inflation, which sends the US total alone up to $127.7m. James Brown biopic Get On Up went on down to eighth with $5m for a total of $22.9m, while Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes hit ninth with $4.4m, which gives the Andy Serkis-led mo-cap sequel a US gross of $197.8m and a worldwide tally of $456m – surpassing the domestic gross of original reboot Rise by more than 20m, but still lagging a good $25m-odd behind its global total. Interestingly, if you adjust for inflation, Tim Burton's 2001 "reimagining" (the first film to try to so dodge the remake tag) comes out on top with $259m, with the 1968 Charlton Heston original second with $202.8m. Lastly, Planes: Fire & Rescue brought up the rear with $2.4m and a home gross of $53m and $83m worldwide. The first Planes made $90m and $220m, respectively, last year.

Once Sly and Ahnuld have made their third Expendable bow next weekend, the summer is officially winding to a close, with only Sin City: A Dame To Kill For of any note, and that's fairly niche, so it's doubtful that the US box office will be able to claw back much more of that 17 per cent decline, but at least it'll be going out on a more positive note.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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