Here are your estimated three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $65.0 million ($65.0 million total)
2. Guardians of the Galaxy - $41.5 million ($175.9 million total)
3. Into the Storm - $18.0 million ($18.0 million total)
4. The Hundred-Foot Journey - $11.1 million ($11.1 million total)
5. Lucy - $9.3 million ($97.3 million total)
6. Step Up All In - $6.5 million ($6.5 million total)
7. Hercules - $5.7 million ($63.4 million total)
8. Get on Up - $5.0 million ($22.9 million total)
9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - $4.4 million ($197.8 million total)
10. Planes: Fire & Rescue - $2.4 million ($52.9 million total)
The Big Stories
Does anyone remember TMNT? Maybe we weren't into anagrams in 2007, but I swear that an animated version of the Turtles came out and was not as successful as The Secret of the Ooze (or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III if adjusted for inflation). Game over, right? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were destined, once and for all, to live on in the comics and cartoon television. There was even noted outrage that when Michael Bay announced he was making a new feature the Turtles were going to be aliens. (A joke in the film now references how "stupid" the fans thought this idea was.) Apparently none of that mattered though, because fans showed up anyway as they have been since 1990, proving the longevity of this franchise is still as strong now as it has been for decades.
1990 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $135.2 million (U.S.)
1991 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze - $78.6 million
1993 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III - $42.2 million
2007 - TMNT - $54.1 million
2014 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - $65 million (and counting with a sequel on the way)
As with (nearly) anything this summer, the opening weekend is the one to watch and Paramount may have dodged yet another bullet in getting precisely what it needed before negative reviews hit.
Think Like a Man Too (25%), Tammy (24%), Into the Storm (21%), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (19%), Sex Tape (18%), Moms' Night Out (18%), Transformers: Age of Extinction (17%), Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (16%), And So It Goes (16%), Blended (14%)
But that's just the Rotten Tomatoes critics. The worst films of the summer, according to those fortunate enough to receive Cinemascore surveys, are Tammy, Lucy and Sex Tape. They all received C-pluses. Cinemascore rarely goes below a B grade so there must be some significant hatred there. (Even Blended got an A-.) Deliver Us from Evil came close to that territory with a B- so the third worst grade of the summer goes to the films getting a B. They include A Million Ways to Die in the West, the Michael Bay-produced The Purge: Anarchy and this weekend's Into the Storm and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; the latter of which will outgross all of those films by Monday. Whether or not it will outgross the other B title of the summer, Neighbors (and its near $150 million), remains to be seen.
The True Winner at This Week's Box Office
Doubters be damned and that includes myself. After a summer full of $90 million openers that then kind of tiptoed their way to grosses just south of $200 million, Guardians of the Galaxy seemed like the next step in that evolution. Except it seems to have caught on with folks outside its fan base. Even though a 56% drop seems like a lot, that's a pretty solid feat. A dozen films this summer have had a steeper drop and only one of them (Transformers) opened higher. Captain America: The Winter Soldier dropped 56.6% and following a lackluster summer the April release remains the highest grossing film of the year in the U.S. Are you starting to grasp what this could mean?
By day 10, Captain America had grossed $158.8 million. School was still in session, so midweek grosses were only $22.58 million compared to Guardians' $40 million, but that's the advantage of having the kids on vacation at the front of a film's run. (Something to remember for everyone trying to say that April and November releases can be just as big as the summer's.) Guardians and the Captain are virtually neck and neck on their first two weekends, and thanks to those hefty midweek tallies, James Gunn's film is $17 million ahead on its 10th day and is nearly identical to Transformers' $175.3 million. Bay's film was already starting to drop like a stone (though it has made over three times more overseas than at home).
All of which means that unless something catastrophic happens in the next few weeks, Guardians of the Galaxy is more than likely to be the highest grossing film of the summer. Schools start to get back in session after next week, but if Guardians remains in the $20-25 million range in weekend three, it is going to be the highest grossing film of the year to date by Labor Day.
Tales of the Top 10
Warner Bros.' Into the Storm was the best of the rest of this week's newcomers and the studio could certainly use a hit after a summer of disappointing returns. $17 million certainly is not "Twister numbers," and without another $120 million overseas, this will be another loser for the studio. Disney did not make Million Dollar Arm a hit with the PG-adult crowd, but it is hoping the power of Oprah will do the opposite for The Hundred-Foot Journey. $11.1 million looks like a decent start, but that is what the Jon Hamm film opened to as well and it only grossed $36.8 million worldwide on a $25 million budget. Journey's budget is stated at $22 million and international prospects could be strong, but Disney is certainly hoping for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel numbers on this one.
Lionsgate was hoping they had inherited a little piece of the franchise business from Disney when they took over the Step Up series with Revolution. The studio has not opened a film all summer (unless you count Dinesh D'Souza's "documentary") and though the Step Up films have decreased in popularity, the last two have grossed over $105 million overseas. All In is the first to not open to at least $11 million in the U.S., but has already started with over $26 million globally. Briana Evigan power!
Elsewhere down the pike, Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be hitting $200 million this week and is officially the sixth straight winner for the year's leading studio. Universal's Lucy is inching its way towards $100 million this week, but will rely on Luc Besson's international appeal to get into profit. Brett Ratner's Hercules now looks like it will not break $70 million in the U.S., and without about another $65 million overseas it will indeed end up being the biggest loser of the summer not involving Dorothy or Oz.
- Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
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