By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood August 9, 2014 at 1:17PM
An unexpected pre-back-to-school surge in box office led to a much stronger than expected showing for Paramount's reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," winning the day's top gross of $25.6 million. This denies "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Buena Vista) a repeat victory by some distance, with $12.3 million (although the margin for the full weekend is likely closer).
This reinforces last weekend's message that August, often the repository of projects that studios don't think deserve placement in the traditionally stronger early summer months, can actually thrive as a release date. And it continues the month's rebound after the severe falloff earlier this season. The top ten grossed just under $60 million, compared to $48 million last year, during "Elysium" days. Both the top two films took in more than the Matt Damon/Jodie Foster sci-fi film did on opening weekend.
Three other films opened wide to varying degrees of interest. Both "Into the Storm" (Warner Bros.) in third place with $6.5 million and "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (Buena Vista) at $3.65 million in fourth came in somewhat ahead of expectations. The latter, with its A Cinemascore and older-audience bent, might actually settle in for a solid long term run ahead for this relatively inexpensive ($22 million) effort from Lasse Hallstrom starring Helen Mirren. Lionsgate's "Step Up All In" lagged in the fifth spot with $2.8 million.
Holdover made up the rest of the top ten, with "Lucy" (Universal) $2.8 million, "Hercules" (Paramount) $1.7 million, "Get On Up" (Universal) $1.5 million, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (20th Century Fox) $1.24 million and "The Purge: Anarchy" (Universal) in order taking the sixth through tenth spots.