A gang of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pushed aside superhero misfits in Guardians of the Galaxy to take the top slot at the box office.
Paramount Pictures' revival of the 1990s Ninja Turtle franchise collected $65.5 million at the box office in U.S and Canadian theaters, researcher Rentrak Corp. said.
Disney's Guardians collected $42 million in its second weekend for second place.
A parade of new releases has restocked theaters in recent weeks, giving audiences reason to turn out. That's been good for cinema chains and studios like Paramount and Disney, which posted a record August debut Aug. 1 with Guardians. Last weekend the 10 top-grossing films generated 23 percent more in domestic ticket sales than a year earlier.
"It was a much stronger than expected opening, and that usually leads to a pretty good run," said Paul Sweeney, a media and entertainment analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shows that audiences will come back for franchises that are well known and tried and true."
Megan Fox, who plays fearless reporter April O'Neil, and Will Arnett as her cameraman, Vern Fenwick, work with the turtles to save New York from the evil Shredder and his Foot Clan. Raphael is played by Alan Ritchson. Jonathan Liebesman, whose credits include 2012's Wrath of the Titans, directed.
The shelled foursome disappointed critics, registering 19 percent positive reviews on aggregator Rottentomatoes.com. Audiences gave it a 64 percent positive rating.
"The four unruly sewer-dwelling title characters look streamlined but no longer sweet in their goofy freakishness as they battle Shredder and his minions in a New York City that's as plain as the movie," wrote Nicolas Rapold in a review for The New York Times. "This new adventure is executed so ordinarily, and with such tunnel vision, that it feels homogenized."
Ninja Turtles had been predicted to collect $40 million, according to Boxoffice.com. The film had a production budget of $125 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
The first Ninja Turtles film, based on the comic book of the same name, was released in 1990 and garnered ticket sales of 10 times its $13.5 million budget. Three subsequent films, the latest in 2007 (billed as TMNT), produced lower revenue. The filmmakers spent 70 days working in New York, spending more than $55 million, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
Guardians was forecast to take in $42 million domestically in its second week, according to Boxoffice.com. It has so far collected $176.5 million.
The film stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, an American pilot who becomes the target of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by the super-villain Ronan. The story of Quill and the collection of misfit Guardians had the third-biggest opening weekend of the year.
In other new releases, the disaster thriller Into the Storm from Warner Bros. generated $17.3 million in ticket sales to place third. It was predicted to earn $14 million by Boxoffice.com.
Directed by Steven Quale, who previously directed Final Destination 5, the film spans a single day in a town that is ravaged by deadly tornadoes.
Actress Helen Mirren returned to the big screen in The Hundred-Foot Journey, directed by Lasse Hallstrom. The film, No. 4 at the box office, pleased critics and audiences, registering 63 percent positive reviews on Rottentomatoes.com. The Disney release collected close to $11 million in its debut, beating a forecast of $10.3 million by Boxoffice.com.
Also opening was Lionsgate's musical drama Step Up All In. The film debuted in sixth place and collected $6.4 million, missing a forecast of $10.2 million.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak, are:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paramount, $65,575,105, 3,845 locations, $17,055 average, $65,575,105, one week.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney, $42,124,922, 4,088 locations, $10,305 average, $176,515,761, two weeks.
Into the Storm, Warner Bros., $17,346,427, 3,434 locations, $5,051 average, $17,346,427, one week.
The Hundred-Foot Journey, Disney, $10,979,290, 2,023 locations, $5,427 average, $10,979,290, one week.
Lucy, Universal, $9,488,805, 3,147 locations, $3,015 average, $97,511,610, three weeks.
Step Up All In, Lionsgate, $6,469,857, 2,072 locations, $3,123 average, $6,469,857, one week.
Hercules, Paramount, $5,746,891, 2,896 locations, $1,984 average, $63,508,138, three weeks.
Get on Up, Universal, $5,195,150, 2,469 locations, $2,104 average, $23,109,760, two weeks.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, 20th Century Fox, $4,334,532, 2,306 locations, $1,880 average, $197,768,156, five weeks.
Planes: Fire and Rescue, Disney, $2,451,526, 2,280 locations, $1,075 average, $52,982,854, four weeks.
The Purge: Anarchy, Universal, $2,285,060, 1,602 locations, $1,426 average, $68,533,360, four weeks.
A Most Wanted Man, Roadside Attractions, $2,199,120, 801 locations, $2,745 average, $10,411,353, three weeks.
Boyhood, IFC Films, $1,973,656, 506 locations, $3,901 average, $10,537,043, five weeks.
And So It Goes, Freestyle Releasing, $1,204,696, 1,111 locations, $1,084 average, $13,243,215, three weeks.
Sex Tape, Columbia, $1,124,492, 944 locations, $1,191 average, $36,907,190, four weeks.
Magic in the Moonlight, Columbia Pictures Classics, $763,015, 170 locations, $4,488 average, $2,397,233, three weeks.
How to Train Your Dragon 2, 20th Century Fox, $690,037, 526 locations, $1,312 average, $170,121,152, nine weeks.
Transformers: Age of Extinction, Paramount, $576,456, 580 locations, $994 average, $242,880,031, seven weeks.
Maleficent, Disney, $538,694, 370 locations, $1,456 average, $236,053,668, 11 week.
Tammy, Warner Bros., $502,001, 550 locations, $913 average, $82,737,168, six weeks.
MovieStyle on 08/15/2014
Print Headline: Turtles hurtle Galaxy for No. 1