Box Office Top 10 Film News

Box Office: Darn You, Michael Bay! – The Turtles Beat the Guardians, Already Earn a Sequel

Do you remember how much hand-wringing there was about how summer 2014 was down upwards of 20% compared to last year’s record-setting summer?  It turns out all we needed was to wait for August, which has now posted two big movies (Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) which massively overperformed in consecutive weekends, setting this up to become the most lucrative August in box office history.  As for this weekend specifically, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles already did enough to earn a sequel (due 2016), Guardians of the Galaxy posted one of the best second weekend holds of the summer, Into the Storm and Hundred Foot Journey opened soft while Step Up All In set a franchise-low (this list has been updated with the actual totals, the main difference being that Guardians actually made slightly more than estimated, declining just 55% instead of 56%):

Top 10 Actual Domestic Totals (8/8-8/10)

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Opening Weekend)

TMNT 2014 Michaelangelo

  • Weekend Gross=$65.5 million
  • Budget=$125-150 million

Foreign: $28.7 million from less than 20 markets (most notably Russia and Mexico) for a global opening of $94.2 million.

Practically before any of us could even fully process the news that the Michael Bay-produced version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had overperformed and ended Guardians of the Galaxy‘s reign atop the box office after just one weekend Paramount quickly announced that a TMNT sequel is now greenlit with all principle parties returning to meet a June 6, 2016 release date.  Cowabunga?

According to Paramount, 61% of the opening weekend audience was male, and 45% under the age of 25.  This would seem to validate the studio’s marketing efforts to appeal both to the younger generation who knows the Turtles through the current CGI animated series on Nick Toons and the millenials who grew up on the older cartoons as well as the three live-action films, the first of which (1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) would have grossed $260 million domestic at current ticket prices.  Actually, I say that in theory, but as a millenial myself I still have yet to see a single TV commercial for this new movie, although I’ve heard plenty of them through Spotify.  It would seem more like Paramount courted families, who helped turn Warner Bros. Animation’s TMNT into a $95 million worldwide hit (on a $35 million budgetr) in 2007.  Paramount might have lucked out when millenials simply couldn’t resist the nostalgic pull the film exerted on them, despite the horrendous reviews and years of bad press (e.g., Michael Bay’s “We’ll make the turtles aliens” phase).

2. Guardians of the Galaxy 

Groot Rocket Guardians 2014

  • Weekend Gross=$42.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$176.5 million
  • Budget=$170 million

Foreign: $40.1 million in over 40 territories this weekend for a new international gross of $137 million and global total of $313.5 million.

How Far Did It Drop?: 55.3%

How Does That Compare to Post-Avengers Marvel Studios Films?: Nearly identical to Captain America: The Winter Soldier (-56%), and dang near identical to Thor: The Dark World (dropped 57% from its $85 million debut) and Iron Man 3 (dropped 58% from its $174 million debut).

How Does That Compare to the Summer’s Other Big Movies?: It’s the best hold of any film to open with more than $90 million, and is the third best of any summer 2014 film which has or will soon pass $200 million domestic:

  • Godzilla dropped 66% from $93 million
  • Days of Future Past dropped 64% from $91 million
  • Transformers dropped 63% from $100 million
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 dropped 61% from $91 million
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes dropped 50% from $72 million
  • Maleficent dropped 50% from $69 million.

At this rate, Guardians of the Galaxy could end up being the highest grossing film of the summer (at least domestically), surpassing Transfromers‘ $242 million.

3. Into the Storm (Opening Weekend)


  • Weekend Gross=$17.3 million
  • Budget=$50 million

Foreign: $8.3 million from limited release for worldwide debut of $25.6 million

Thanks to Sharknado, tornoadoes are suddenly hip, and Into the Storm seemed set to cash in on that, delivering a B-movie with dodgy special effects produced on the cheap.  However, because Sharknado only aired on TV, and Into the Storm is taking itself a bit more seriously than that SyFy “classic” it’s hard to compare any real numbers.  Really, the one everyone is going to compare Into the Storm to is 1996’s Twister because they’re both natural disaster films focused on tornadoes.  Twister debuted with $41 million (like $75 million at current ticket prices).  Into the Storm, um, didn’t quite do that.

4. The Hundred-Foot Journey (Opening Weekend)


  • Weekend Gross=$10.9 million
  • Budget=$22 million

Foreign: No international box office yet

The most comparable recent film to Hundred Foot Journey is likely Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but there is no fair way to draw a direct comparison between each film’s respective box office totals.  Hundred Foot just opened here in August in over 2,000 theaters whereas Exotic Marigold opened in early May 2012 in just 27 theaters, never rising above 1,300 theaters during its 25-week run.

There is, however, an interesting point to be made about CinemaScore, the exit-polling service that surveys opening night audiences for most new films each weekend in 25 of the biggest cities in the country.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles only received a B (A- from anyone below 25, B- from any 25 and above) whereas Hundred Foot Journey received an A, upped to an A+ among those aged 25-49.  Time and time again these grades indicate that “for male-driven films, the opening weekend is what you see is what you get. With that logic, The Hundred-Foot Journey, which has a very strong older female audience, should have fairly good word-of-mouth and a better chance to improve upon its opening weekend total.”

5. Lucy

Lucy ScarJo

  •  Weekend Gross=$9.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$97.4 million
  • Budget=$40 million

Foreign: Still rolling out internationally, Lucy now sits at $15 million internationally for a worldwide total of $112.4 million

Lucy is now slightly ahead of the pace of prior late-summer female action movie Salt (2010), which had $91 million after its first 17 days.  The bigger story will come once Lucy starts adding more foreign territories because its European-based producer/director, Luc Besson, always seem to go bigger internationally than domestically.

6. Step Up All In (Opening Weekend)


  • Weekend Gross=$6.4 million
  • Budget=They’re not telling

Foreign: It’s already been playing internationally since early July, amassing a foreign gross of $37.7 million which now makes for a worldwide total of $43.8 million.

Step Up All In is the 5th installment in a Step Up franchise which started out as a star-making vehicle for Channing Tatum in 2006.  These have all been kind of like more expensive versions of all those Friday the 13th sequels Paramount churned out in the ’80s.  It all started because the first movie was a bigger hit than it was supposed to be (Step Up scored $65 million domestic), and the sequels all star people you’ve never heard of and are churned out on an exact schedule, in this case a new Step Up title once every 2 years.  Similar to Friday the 13th, each sequel has grossed less domestically than the one that came before it, and the third installment in the franchise was done in 3D.

However, it’s a different marketplace than it was back in the ’80s, and though the Step Up films are arguably mere cost-effective exercises in commerce they have the international market to also play with, which boosted Step Up 3D to a franchise best $159.3 million worldwide gross in 2010.  So, although Step Up All In has set a franchise low for an opening weekend (domestic) its true test is overseas.

7. Hercules


  • Weekend Gross=$5.7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$63.4 million
  • Budget=$100 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $72.5 million making for a worldwide total of $135.9 million

As of late, historical pics like Hercules don’t put up entirely impressive domestic box office figures, instead impressing overseas (e.g., 300: Rise of an Empire, Noah). We’ve been assuming the same would happen with Hercules based on how big it opened in a market like Russia, setting a career best for star Dwayne Johnson.  However, that big boost from overseas we’ve expecting hasn’t so much happened yet.  There’s still time.  It still has openings in big markets like Mexico, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan all the way through October.

8. Get On Up 


  • Weekend Gross=$5.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$23 million
  • Budget=$30 million

Foreign: No international box office yet.

Well, that’s not good.  James Brown biopic Get On Up opened roughly on par with fellow music biopic Jersey Boys last weekend, but after falling 63% this weekend it is now off the pace of Jersey Boys, whose 10-day total was $27.4 million.  To put it another way, Get On Up has now fallen behind a similar movie from earlier in the summer which did not exactly do all that great on its own, considering that Jersey Boys topped out at $46.3 million domestic on a $40 million production budget.

9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 


  • Weekend Gross=$4.3 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$197.7 million
  • Budget=$170 million

Foreign: $29.5 million this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $306.1/$503.8 million

Dawn has now passed Rise of the Planet of the Apes‘ worldwide total ($481 million), and will soon become just the 6th film of the summer to cross $200 million domestic.  However, its membership in that club will seem more impressive than some of the others.  Both Godzilla and Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened with over $90 million, but then struggled to make it to $200 million.  Dawn only opened with $72 million.  This would indicate those two films were products of hype and relentless advertising whereas Dawn was able to rely on that as well as solid word of mouth.  In other word, people actually really like Dawn.

10. Planes: Fire & Rescue 

  • Weekend Gross=$2.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$52.9 million
  • Budget=$50 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $37 million making for a worldwide total of $90.4 million

What Fell Out of the Top 10?:

The Purge: Anarchy (#7 to #11), A Most Wanted Man (#10 to #12), And So It Goes (#9 to #14), and Sex Tape (#8 to #15).  The Purge: Anarchy is not a monumentally bigger hit than the first Purge, but considering how much people seemed to dislike that movie it’s very impressive that Anarchy has posted a bigger domestic ($68 million for Anarchy vs. $64 million for Purge) and worldwide gross ($95 million vs. $89 million).  The producers have promised a sequel, although they may not get it done in time for a 2015 release.

What’s Up Next?:

Let’s Be Cops, aka, the B-plot of a New Girl episode stretched out into a full-length movie, drops on Wednesday (8/13) for some reason, followed two days later on Friday by The Expendables 3 and The Giver.  The most formidable of the 3 will likely be Expendables 3, as Expendables 2 opened to $28 million in 2012.  Although the likes of Stallone and Schwarzenegger have been box office duds as of late, The Expendables franchise is still on relatively solid ground.  The second one wasn’t quite as big of a hit as the first domestically, but made up for it overseas, setting a franchise high in worldwide gross ($300 million).  As such, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Expendables 3 continue the trend of diminishing returns domestically but booming biz overseas.


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