Box Office Results: The Expendables Live Up to Their Name

It’s not that uncommon for new August releases to have trouble against stronger returning movies and that was the case this weekend as three new movies opened in wide release and failed to make a mark against the top two returning movies. To some, it may have been surprising that the latest installment of Sylvester Stallone’s hit all-star action franchise The Expendables 3 (Lionsgate) not only didn’t come close to the opening of its predecessors, but it wasn’t even the top new movie of the weekend.

This allowed the Michael Bay version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Paramount), starring Megan Fox, to remain on top with $28.4 million, despite a 57% drop-off from its strong opening weekend. It has grossed $117 million domestically so far.

Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster, the James Gunn-directed outer space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, became the sixth movie of the summer to cross the $200 million mark as it remained in second place with $24.7 million, down just 41% in its third weekend. The $222 million it has grossed after three weekends makes it the sixth-highest grossing movie of 2014. With two more full weeks of the summer and it likely to be hanging out in the Top 5 for both weeks, we would not be surprised to see “Guardians” gross the $21 million needed to become the top-grossing movie of the summer domestically over Transformers: Age of Extinction‘s $243 million. It also needs just $37 million more to beat Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the highest grossing movie of the YEAR. It could happen! Guardians of the Galaxy also added $33.1 million overseas for an international total of $196.4 million and worldwide total of $418.7 million.

Like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, “Guardians” already has a sequel in development that’s already been given a release date, except that Marvel have given themselves an extra year to make it.

Opening on Tuesday night, the regretably-timed Fox comedy Let’s Be Cops, starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson (both from the hit Fox sitcom “New Girl”), took in $1.2 million in Tuesday previews, another $4 million on Wednesday and then $3.2 million on Thursday. While it was slightly behind The Expendables 3 on Friday, it surpassed it on both Saturday and in Sunday estimates for an estimated $17.7 million weekend, enough to take third place. It has grossed $26.1 million in its first five days and with a reported production budget of just $17 million, the comedy is well on its way to following in the footsteps of many of this summer’s other R-rated comedies by recuperating its costs.

Opening on Friday in 3,221 theaters, The Expendables 3 (Lionsgate), starring returning cast members Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Arnold Schwarzenegger, joined by Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey, wasn’t even #1 for Friday with a measly $5.9 million. By Sunday, it had fallen further behind Let’s Be Cops to bring in about $16.2 million for the weekend.

By comparison, the original “Expendables” opened with $34.8 million on the same weekend four years ago on its way to $274 million worldwide, while its sequel The Expendables 2 opened with $29 million on its way to $300 million worldwide. In theory, the third movie could still do well worldwide, but it’s unlikely to gross more than $50 million domestically. Many will likely credit the movies failure to the millions who watched the movie via an illegal download which leaked two weeks before the movie’s theatrical release.

Not surprisingly, the audience for the third movie was 61% male and 66% over the age of 25, although the movie received an A- CinemaScore by those who went out to see it this weekend, meaning the audience generally liked it.

Based on Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel, The Giver (The Weinstein Company), starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Brenton Thwaites, opened in fifth place with a measly $12.8 million in 3,003 theaters, averaging $4,249 per theater.

With three new movies entering the Top 10, that knocked the rest of the returning movies down three notches with New Line’s giant tornado disaster flick Into the Storm suffering a whopping 57% drop for a sixth place showing of $7.7 million weekend and a total of $31.3 million so far.

The Helen Mirren foodie vehicle The Hundred-Foot Journey (DreamWorks) had one of the strongest holds in the Top 10 due to strong word-of-mouth. It dropped just 35% in its second weekend to take seventh place with $7.1 million and $23.6 million total.

Luc Besson’s sci-fi action thriller Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, took eighth place with $5.3 million, down 44% from last week, raising its domestic gross to $107.5 million in four weeks.

Step Up All In (Summit) didn’t really do much stepping up in its second weekend, dropping to ninth place with $2.7 million (down 59% from last weekend) and $11.8 million total.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (IFC Films) continued its slow expansion over the past month, expanding into 771 theaters on Friday to gross $2.2 million over the weekend or $2,789 per site, as it finally entered the Top 10. That brings its theatrical gross to $13.8 million, making it IFC Films’ second-highest grossing film to date after My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s already Linklater’s highest-grossing movie since 2005’s Bad News Bears remake, which received a wider release into over 3,000 theaters. Ironically, his highest-grossing movie, the Jack Black vehicle School of Rock, came out in 2003, the year after the filmmaker began production on Boyhood.

The Top 10 grossed approximately $125 million, up $12 million from last year when Lee Daniels’ The Butler won the weekend with $24.6 million while the action sequel Kick-Ass 2 settled for fifth place with $13.3 million and Ashton Kutcher’s biopic JOBS bombed with $6.7 million.

20th Century Fox’s sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has dropped out of the Top 10 but it also crossed the $200 million mark over the weekend, the seventh movie this summer to reach that milestone domestically. That’s the same number of movies to gross more than $200 million last summer, although two of those grossed over $350 million, while none of this summer’s movies have reached or will reach $300 million.

Meanwhile, the Fox-distributed DreamWorks Animation sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 crossed the $500 million mark worldwide earlier this week. (It has grossed $171.2 million domestically and is not likely to match the $200 million plus of its predecessor.)

After playing in limited release for a number of weeks, Woody Allen’s latest Magic in the Moonlight, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone, expanded nationwide into 964 theaters but failed to find the box office magic of some of Allen’s other recent films, taking in just under $2 million and averaging less than $2,000 per location.

CBS Films’ relationship comedy What If, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver, expanded wide in its second weekend to play in 787 theaters, but that expansion was a disaster as it ended up with $829 thousand for the weekend, or a thousand per location.

Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan starred in the Sundance favorite horror-comedy Life After Beth (A24), which opened in a single theater in New York and L.A. grossing $18,000 over the weekend.

Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Michael Winterbottom reteamed for The Trip to Italy (IFC Films), which made $72 thousand in 3 theaters in New York and Los Angeles, or $24 thousand per location.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.