Weekend Box Office (August 15 - 17, 2014)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND Averaging less than $1M per person listed above the title on the poster, The Expendables 3 crashed and burned settling for a fourth place finish while overperformers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy continued their strong run atop the box office. Overall, the August box office came back down to normal numbers after two extremely strong weekends to open the month.

The top two from last week stayed in the same position this week as two different sets of heroes remained in charge of the box office. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fell a reasonable 58% from its huge opening last weekend and brought in an estimated $28.4M for a total cume to date of $117.6M. Look for a finale in the $175M range with a sequel on its way in 2016, because what would life be without sequels? Guardians of the Galaxy fell 41% from last weekend to an estimated $24.7M, bringing its total haul to $222.3M to date. It's running about 10% ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier from earlier this year, albeit with a slightly bigger third weekend drop. Guardians is still likely to become the highest grossing film of the year and stay that way, at least until The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 comes out in November. The Guardians sequel is due in 2017.

Led by the stars of The New Girl and The Vampire Diaries, Let's Be Cops landed in third place this weekend with an estimated $17.7M with a total cume from its opening on Wednesday of $26.1M. Heavy promotion and lack of a similar film in the marketplace - the last broad comedy came out over a month ago (anyone remember Sex Tape?) - helped the film break through. Audience breakdowns were 56% Male / 44% Female with 54% under the age of 25.

Fourth place belonged to the film with the most star power in the history of the medium, The Expendables 3. Seriously, is there another film that could boast this kind of lineup? The only one I can think of that might come close is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Led by megastars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and others, The Expendables 3 opened to an estimated $16.2M. There are 17 actors listed above the title on the promotional poster which means the movie made less than $1M per person. This isn't a scientific observation, just a very humorous one. While the series was never meant to get into megablockbuster range, this opening has to be seen as very disappointing. The first two films in the series opened to $34.8M and $28.6M. Cinemascore was an A- which is decent and means that people who wanted to see the film enjoyed it, it's just that not many people wanted to see it.

The beloved book-to-film genre added another entry this weekend as The Giver opened in fifth place to an estimated $12.7M. Hoping to tap into the audience of other popular page-to-screen translations like The Hunger Games or Divergent, instead the movie played out more like a Beautiful Creatures or Mortal Instruments. Perhaps there was too long a wait between the novel (which was released in 1993) and the film adaptation.

The disaster film Into the Storm dropped 55% from its opening last weekend and ended up in sixth place this weekend, bringing in $7.7M, according to estimates. Its total now stands at $31M leading to a likely $45M finish. The Hundred-Foot Journey took seventh place this weekend falling a slim 35% to an estimated $7.1M, bringing its total to $23.6M. A finale in the $45M range also seems likely.

Scarlett Johansson crossed the $100M bar this week with Lucy, which took in an estimated $5.3M this weekend for a total of $107.5M to date. The latest in the dance film series Step Up All In came down hard this weekend, falling 58% in its second go around to an estimated $2.7M, bringing its total to $11.8M. Now we play the waiting game to see if the film can reach the heights of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo which made $15.1M all the way back in 1984/85. Indie darling Boyhood bounced back into the top ten at number ten, adding 265 screens and jumping 9% from last weekend to an estimated $2.1M, bringing its cume to $13.1M.

The top ten films grossed $124.8M this weekend, up 10% from 2013 when Lee Daniels' The Butler opened at number one with $24.6M; and up 2% from 2012 when The Expendables 2 opened on top with $28.6M.

Compared to projections, The Expendables came in under Gitesh's $24M prediction, while both Let's Be Cops and The Giver were right on target with his $17M and $12M projections, respectively.

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Watch the trailer for The Hobbit.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, If I Stay, and When the Game Stands Tall all open.


Last Updated: August 17, 2014 at 3:15PM ET

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