Friday Box Office: NINJA TURTLES Surprises with $25.6 Million Opening

     August 9, 2014


After crushing the August opening record with its $94.3 million debut last weekend, it looks like Guardians of the Galaxy is now in line to get crushed by the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Paramount’s live-action reboot of the venerable pop-culture franchise took in an estimated $25.6 million on Friday, including $4.6 million from its Thursday p.m. previews.  That suggests a first weekend gross of over $60 million – well above the $42 million that Paramount was expecting.  TMNT‘s big opening will send Guardians into second place in its sophomore frame.  It’s a scenario that was always possible but somehow didn’t seem plausible until this morning.

Full story and Friday’s box office breakdown after the jump.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-final-posterIf it seems like an insult that “the best reviewed blockbuster of the summer” was dethroned after only one week (and by a film that currently rates just 20% on Rotten Tomatoes), there is another way to look at it.  Guardians of the Galaxy followed its amazing opening weekend with equally amazing first-week numbers: earning more than any film this summer on its initial Monday – Thursday run.  That includes X-Men: Days of Future Past, which got a boost on its first Monday thanks to the Memorial Day holiday.

Guardians is still expected to earn over $40 million this weekend, which would equal a drop of about 55%.  If realized, that would be the best sophomore hold for a Marvel feature since The Avengers dominated in May 2012.  Of course, all of Marvel’s post-Avengers releases have also managed to stay in first place for more than one weekend: a fact that looks more impressive from a marketing standpoint.

For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the marketing potential of besting Marvel is invaluable.  It’s been more than 20 years since the last live-action TMNT hit theatres, so this weekend will mark a huge win for Paramount and producer Michael Bay.  The combined power of this weekend’s top two films will also give the domestic box office a much-needed win, with total earnings now expected to exceed 2013 levels by as much as 15%.

Taking TMNT and Guardians out of the mix, the Friday box office looks much more like the August we are all used to: a grab-bag of modest releases bringing even more modest returns.  Strongest among this weekend’s also-rans is Warner Bros.’ Into the Storm.  The disaster pic earned an estimated $6.5 million from 3,434 locations on Friday and should claim an opening weekend of about $15 million.  Step Up All In opened in fifth place on Friday.  The fifth entry in the improbably profitable dance franchise (the previous four films have brought in almost $600 million worldwide since 2006) set a new series low and is not expected to top $6 million in its first three days.

A more positive note was hit by Disney’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, which opened in fourth place with an estimated $3.65 million.  That should equal an opening weekend of $10 million or higher, which is a bit more than this more-adult offering was expected to bring in, the power of co-producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey notwithstanding.

We’ll have complete details and the weekend box office top ten tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $25,600,000 $25.6
2.  Guardians of the Galaxy $12,335,000 $146.7
3.  Into the Storm $6,510,000 $6.5
4.  The Hundred-Foot Journey $3,650,000 $3.6
5.  Step Up All In $2,840,000 $2.8
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