NEW YORK – Moviegoers continued to shell out for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while Sylvester Stallone’s action ensemble The Expendables 3 was easily out-gunned in its weekend debut.
The rebooted reptiles took in $28.4 million in the film’s second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. That far surpassed the limp $16.2 million earned by Stallone’s gang of aged but buff warriors.
The paltry, fourth-place total for The Expendables 3 is well below previous debuts in the franchise. The last two Expendables opened with $34.8 million (in August 2010) and $28.6 million (in August 2012). The third film was the first to be rated PG-13 in the previously R-rated series, which potentially signalled watered-down explosiveness to an audience that was largely over 25, anyway.
Expendables 3, which features a sprawling cast of Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and others, also leaked online before its release, potentially damaging its impact in theatres.
Instead, Guardians of the Galaxy came in second with $24.7 million, bringing its three-week cumulative total to $222 million. Along with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the cosmic romp starring Chris Pratt has helped restore some strength to the summer box office. Sequels are already in the works for both films.
After box-office returns well off the pace of last summer, Hollywood has made a slight comeback in August, typically a dumping ground for studio leftovers. The summer overall is still running at a 15 per cent deficit from last year’s record-breaking season, but the gap had once been above 20 per cent. August is up 14 per cent on last year.
Opening in third place was the buddy comedy Let’s Be Cops, starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. It took in $17.7 million.
Also debuting was the Lois Lowry adaption The Giver, a dystopian young-adult tale starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. It opened in fifth place with an estimated $12.8 million.
© 2014 The Associated Press