Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Paramount Pictures revival of comic book characters that first hit theaters in the 1990s, led movie-ticket sales for a second straight weekend.
The movie, featuring Megan Fox and produced by Michael Bay, brought in $28.5 million in U.S. and Canadian cinemas for Paramount, Viacom Inc.'s film division, Rentrak Corp. said Sunday.
Walt Disney Co.'s Guardians of the Galaxy held on to second place again, with $25.1 million. Both films outdrew three new releases, including The Expendables 3, starring Sylvester Stallone and Mel Gibson.
The two films, among the last big releases of the summer in North America, provided a revenue boost in an otherwise lackluster season for studios and cinemas. Summer ticket sales were down 17 percent this year from a year earlier as of two weeks ago, according to Rentrak. BoxOffice.com had forecast $26 million in weekend sales for Turtles and $24 million for Guardians.
"Ninja Turtles is a movie that no one thought would open as big as it did, and for it to be No. 1 two weekends in a row is even more surprising," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. "It shows you how important just two movies or even one movie can be to the health of the box office marketplace."
Among new releases, The Expendables 3 brought in about $16 million for Lionsgate, compared with the $22 million forecast of BoxOffice.com. Its 2012 predecessor opened with $28.6 million and went on to collect $305 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
In the new version, Stallone returns as Barney Ross and is rejoined by Jason Statham, as Lee Christmas, and the rest of the team of mercenaries. They face down Conrad Stonebanks, played by Gibson, a founder of The Expendables and an arms trader. Stonebanks wants to wipe out the unit and faces a fight with Ross and younger additions to the crew.
Ticket sales may have been hurt by the distribution of a copy of the film that Lionsgate said was stolen and uploaded to the Internet in late July. The company won a court order earlier this month blocking websites from disseminating the file after more than 2 million people viewed the movie online.
The film registered a 34 percent positive rating from critics as of Aug. 15, according to Rottentomatoes.com, which distills reviews into a single number.
"Expendables 3 has tried to make a virtue of necessity and construct a film about younger types muscling their sclerotic compatriots out of a job," Kenneth Turan wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "That may sound interesting, but it's really not."
Let's Be Cops, the 2oth Century Fox Inc. comedy featuring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., opened Aug. 13 with sales of about $18 million, missing the $21 million projection of BoxOffice.com.
Johnson and Wayans star as two friends who dress up as police officers for a costume party only to get embroiled in a real-life mobster story.
The film fared poorly with critics, with 11 percent positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.
The third new release, Weinstein Co.'s The Giver, features Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. The film produced sales of $12.3 million, compared with a forecast of $12 million.
Based on Lois Lowry's book, The Giver tells the story of a utopian world where a youngster named Jonas is picked as the Receiver of Memories. He enters into training with an old man, learns about the world's real miseries and is confronted with the knowledge that his community is fake.
The film, which features Bridges as The Giver, Streep as the Chief Elder and Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, failed to enchant critics, garnering 28 percent positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com.
Print Headline: Teen turtles outrun competition