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Strange August Box Office Weekend Boosted by Holdovers, 'Sin City' Bombs, Top Ten Chart

Thompson on Hollywood By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood August 24, 2014 at 4:21PM

Strange days have found us. Late summer weekends can yield weird results, but rarely like this. Six of the Top Ten positions changed from Friday, which is rare, as two of three new films declined steeply. Meanwhile several of holdovers enjoyed solid jumps. Last week's top two films switched positions, with "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Buena Vista) returning yet again as the top grosser after having been bested by "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount) for the last two weeks.
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Zoe Saldana in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Zoe Saldana in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Strange days have found us. Late summer weekends can yield weird results, but rarely like this. Six of the Top Ten positions changed from Friday, which is rare, as two of three new films declined steeply. Meanwhile several of holdovers enjoyed solid jumps. Last week's top two films switched positions, with "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Buena Vista) returning yet again as the top grosser after having been bested by "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount) for the last two weeks.

Those two films are the shining lights of August, but the less-heralded "Let's Be Cops" (Twentieth Century Fox) had a terrific hold--only down 38%-- to take fourth place. And that wasn't the best hold! Lower-budget sleeper success "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (Dreamworks/Buena Vista) fell only 22% in its third weekend. "Journey" has already outgrossed (with higher marketing expense) the summer's other foody hit, "Chef," and looks to build for several more weeks. Also dropping under 50% was Weinstein's "The Giver" to take sixth spot, down 45%, to slightly improve its outlook after a soft opening.

The Top Ten take climbed to about $100 million, a jump of $17 million over the same weekend last year, and the fourth consecutive week to improve after mostly downturns all summer. That's because three new wide films opened.

Friday's top grosser, the young adult tearjerker novel adaptation "If I Stay" (Warner Bros.), fell to third for the weekend for a $16.6 million total. Yesterday's gross was down over 17% from Friday. With "The Giver" also below hopes last weekend, clearly, despite the success of a range of young female-centered character films made from best sellers in recent months, these successes are not automatic. Based on social media activity and pre-sales, results fell short of projections for a $20-25 million opening. And Sony's high school football-centered "When the Game Stands Tall" came in fifth, close to its modest $9 million estimate and up 20% from Friday.  Both films had modest production costs ($11-15 million before marketing); neither is guaranteed significant foreign returns. Both films might eke out decent numbers.

That can't be said for $60-70 million sequel "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (The Weinstein Co.), which fell to eighth for the weekend with under $6.5 million: predictions were three times that. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's initial series entry (based on Miller's comic) in 2005 opened to $29 million; adjusted to today's ticket prices that would be $37 million before calculating the additional revenue for 3D sales. That's a huge loss at a time when Weinstein needs a hit. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow's takeaways for the whole summer. 

The Top Ten Chart:

1. "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Buena Vista) Week 4 - Last weekend: #2
$17,631,000 (-30%) in 3,371 theaters(-326); PSA: $5,230; Cumulative: $251,884,000
2.."Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount) Week 3 - Last weekend #1
$16,800,000 (-41%) in 3,864 theaters (-116); PSA: $4,348; Cumulative: $145,610,000
3. "If I Stay" (Warner Bros.) NEW - Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: C; Metacritic: 47; Estimate budget: $11 million
$16,355,000 in 2,907 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $5,626; Cumulative: $16,355,000
4. "Let's Be Cops" (20th Century Fox) Week 2 - Last weekend #3
$11,000,000 (-38%) in 3,140 theaters (+46); PSA: $3,503; Cumulative: $45,246,000
5. "When the Game Stands Tall" (Sony) NEW - Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: C-; Metacritic: 41; Estimated budget: $15 million
$9,000,000 in 2,673 theaters; PSA: $3,367; Cumulative: $9,000,000
6. "The Giver" (Weinstein) Week 2 - Last weekend #
$6,730,000 (-45%) in 3,003 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,241; Cumulative: $24,101,000
7. "The Expendables 3" (Lionsgate) Week 2 - Last weekend #4
$6,600,000 in 3,221 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,049; Cumulative: $27,519,000
8. "Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (Weinstein) NEW - Cinemascore: B-; Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 44; Estimated budget: $60-70 million
$6,477,000 in 2,894 theaters; PSA: $2,238; Cumulative: $6,477,000
9. "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (Buena Vista) Week 3 - Last weekend #7
$5,562,000 (-22% in 1,944 theaters (-99); PSA: $2,861; Cumulative: $32,750,000
10. "Into the Storm" (Warner Bros.) Week 3 - Last weekend #6
$3,800,000 (-52%) in 2,375 theaters (-1,059); PSA: $1,600; Cumulative: $38,301,000


This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy, If I Stay, Sin City 3, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Robert Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez


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