NORTH AMERICA: Studio Estimates: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Leads for a Third Consecutive Weekend with $10.16M; ‘The Identical’ Starts Softly with $1.91M

Sunday Update: Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy took in an estimated $10.16 million this weekend to remain in first place at the box office. The blockbuster sci-fi superhero adaptation from Marvel has now led the box office for three consecutive weekends and for four of the past six weekends. Guardians of the Galaxy was down 41 percent from last weekend’s three-day frame, which represents a very solid hold for the weekend after Labor Day weekend. The film continues to benefit from very strong word of mouth and was also aided by the limited amount of new major releases entering the marketplace this weekend. Guardians of the Galaxy has grossed a massive $294.57 million in 38 days, which leaves the film just $5.43 million away from becoming the first release of 2014 to reach the $300 million domestic milestone.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles held steady in second place with an estimated $6.5 million. Paramount‘s successful franchise re-launch was down a respectable 45 percent from last weekend’s three-day performance. While its box office run is slowing down now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to exceed expectations in a very big way with $174.65 million through 31 days of release.

Warner’s If I Stay followed in third with an estimated $5.75 million. The low-budget drama starring Chloë Grace Moretz was down a healthy 38 percent from last weekend. If I Stay has grossed $39.66 million in 17 days, which is in line with expectations and represents a very solid performance with the film’s cost in mind.

Let’s Be Cops placed in fourth with an estimated $5.4 million. Fox’s low-budget action comedy held up very nicely this weekend, as it was down just 35 percent. The 26-day total for Let’s Be Cops stands at $66.59 million. Let’s Be Cops continues to be aided from strong word of mouth and from the current lack of new comedies in the marketplace.

Relativity’s The November Man and Universal’s As Above/So Below claimed fifth and sixth place with estimated respective takes of $4.2 million and $3.72 million. The November Man was down 47 percent from last weekend, while As Above/So Below fell a sharp 57 percent. Respective total grosses stand at $17.87 million for The November Man in twelve days and at $15.58 million for As Above/So Below in ten days.

Freestyle’s The Identical, the weekend’s only new wide release, debuted with an estimated $1.91 million. The faith based drama was off to a very soft start, especially when considering that the film was only able to manage a per-location average of $977 from 1,956 locations. It should also be noted that Freestyle is expecting the film to experience a 33 percent daily increase on Sunday in comparison to Saturday. The poor performance of The Identical is in sharp contrast to the strong performance of Freestyle’s God’s Not Dead earlier this year.

Paramount‘s IMAX re-issue of Forrest Gump also failed to make much of an impact at the box office this weekend. The re-issue of the 1994 blockbuster starring Tom Hanks grossed an estimated $405,000 from 337 locations. That gave the film a lackluster per-location average of $1,202 for the frame.

– Daniel Garris

Saturday Update: Disney reports that Guardians of the Galaxy tacked on another estimated $2.71 million Friday, the start of its sixth weekend. That figure was off just 30 percent from last Friday and brings the film’s domestic total to $287.1 million. The film’s pace remains just over 1 percent ahead of Marvel’s original Iron Man through the same point in release. BoxOffice projects a $10.6 million finish in first place this weekend for its third straight and fourth overall weekend victory.

One interesting note this weekend is that projections put Guardians and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on pace to repeat as the top two films for a fifth consecutive weekend. Should that pace hold with actual results, it would mark the first any two films have accomplished that feat since 1984’s Ghostbusters and Gremlins (which repeated as the top two for six weeks between June and July). Additionally, 1990’s original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick paired with Pretty Woman to dominate the top two spots for seven weeks that year (March-May). It’s unlikely that Guardians and the new Turtles will get that far, though, with Dolphin Tale 2 and/or No Good Deed poised to open at least that high next weekend.

Warner Bros.’ If I Stay returned to second place on Friday as it posted $1.6 million at the start of its third frame, targeting a $4.9 million weekend. The total through Friday is $35.5 million.

Meanwhile, Fox’s Let’s Be Cops added $1.55 million on Friday and is projected to earn $5.0 million over the the weekend. The film’s total through Friday is $62.75 million.

Paramount‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was down 44 percent from last week to $1.5 million. The reboot has amassed an excellent $169.65 million domestically to-date. BoxOffice projects a $5.5 million fifth frame.

Relativity’s The November Man added $1.24 million on Friday, down 44 percent from the same day last week. The Pierce Brosnan thriller has taken in $14.9 million in its first 10 days of release–20 percent behind The Debt at the same point. BoxOffice projects a $4.1 million sophomore frame.

Freestyle Releasing’s The Identical bowed to $0.52 million in its first day of release. With a reported combined budget of more than $30 million, this is an unfortunate showing for the faith-based film, whose marketing penetration into the mainstream was almost non-existent. Freestyle projects a $2 million opening weekend.

On the limited release front, Paramount‘s 20th anniversary re-release of Forrest Gump took in an estimated $109,000 from 337 IMAX locations on Friday. By comparison, the IMAX and 3D re-issue of The Wizard of Oz last September took in $754,761 million from 318 locations on opening day. BoxOffice projects a $440,000 weekend for Gump.

Friday Update: Sources report that The Identical is targeting an opening day around $900,000. Should that hold, the weekend will likely tally between $2.6 million and $2.8 million.

Unfortunately, no early reports on Guardians of the Galaxy or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are available at the time of publishing.

More as it comes.

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