NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Estimates: ‘Ninja Turtles’ ($28.4M) and ‘Guardians’ ($24.7M) Hold off Newcomers ‘Let’s Be Cops’ ($17.7M), ‘Expendables 3’ ($16.2M) and ‘The Giver’ ($12.8M)

Sunday Update: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was able to easily hold off three major newcomers this weekend to remain in first place with an estimated $28.4 million. In the process, Paramount’s high-profile franchise re-launch zoomed past the $100 million domestic mark over the weekend. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was down a sharp, but understandable 57 percent from last weekend’s debut. The film continues to exceed expectations in a very big way with $117.64 million through ten days of release. That places Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles an impressive 19 percent ahead of the $98.58 million ten-day take of 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. With its initial fan rush-out now behind it, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will hope to stabilize going forward.

Also holding off the weekend’s newcomers was Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The blockbuster sci-fi superhero adaptation from Marvel placed in second with an estimated $24.74 million. Guardians of the Galaxy was down 41 percent this weekend, which is an encouraging sign for the film going forward. Guardians of the Galaxy rocketed past the $200 million domestic milestone over the weekend and has grossed a stronger than expected $222.28 million in 17 days. Guardians of the Galaxy is currently running 11 percent ahead of the $200.50 million 17-day take of Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier this year and will have no problem eventually surpassing the $259.71 million current total gross of The Winter Soldier to become the highest grossing release of 2014 thus far domestically.

While it debuted towards the lower end of expectations, Fox’s Let’s Be Cops was nonetheless the weekend’s top new release with an estimated third place take of $17.7 million. Given its Wednesday release date, it was impressive that the action-comedy topped both The Expendables 3 and The Giver over the weekend. Let’s Be Cops is also performing well with its low production cost in mind. Let’s Be Cops has grossed $26.11 million through five days of release. That gives the film a five-day to three-day ratio of 1.47 to 1 and places the film 22 percent behind the recent $33.31 million five-day start of Tammy. Let’s Be Cops only received a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, but will still have a very solid chance of holding up well going forward due in part to the lack of new comedies entering the marketplace over the next several weeks.

Lionsgate’s The Expendables 3 landed in fourth place with a disappointing estimated debut of $16.2 million. The third installment of the ensemble action franchise starring Sylvester Stallone opened below its already scaled back expectations and 43 percent below the $28.59 million start of 2012’s The Expendables 2. In addition to moviegoers clearly growing tired of the franchise, The Expendables 3 also appears to have been hurt by having been pirated online prior to its release. The Expendables 3 opened with $5.93 million on Friday, declined 3 percent on Saturday to take in $5.72 million and is estimated to fall 20 percent on Sunday to gross $4.55 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.73 to 1. The Expendables 3 did receive an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore, but as the third installment of a franchise, audience reaction likely won’t make a big difference for the film going forward.

The Giver rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated debut of $12.76 million. The young adult sci-fi adaptation from The Weinstein Company opened on the lower end of pre-release expectations. The film’s opening weekend performance was similar to the $10.60 million start of The Host last year. The Giver took in $4.75 million on Friday, fell 6 percent on Saturday to gross $4.45 million and is estimated to decline 20 percent on Sunday to gross $3.56 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.69 to 1. The Giver received a B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Holdovers Into the Storm and The Hundred-Foot Journey claimed sixth and seven place with respective estimated takes of $7.72 million and $7.11 million. Warner’s Into the Storm was down a significant 55 percent from last weekend and has grossed $31.34 million in ten days. Disney’s The Hundred-Foot Journey was down a healthy 35 percent and has grossed $23.62 million over the same ten-day span. Both films are performing in line with their respective pre-release expectations thus far.

On the limited front, Boyhood took in an estimated $2.15 million from 771 locations to place in tenth among all films, while Magic in the Moonlight took in an estimated $1.88 million from 964 locations to finish in 14th place. IFC Films’ Boyhood has grossed an impressive $13.80 million to date, while Sony Pictures Classics’ Magic in the Moonlight has grossed a soft $4.71 million so far.

Saturday Update: Paramount reports that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earned an estimated $7.92 million on Friday, a 69 percent drop from its opening day last weekend (in line with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra‘s 68 percent drop). That brings the reboot’s domestic haul up to $97.2 million–17 percent more than the 8-day gross of Cobra. BoxOffice projects a $25.5 million sophomore frame for the flick.

Guardians of the Galaxy continues to hold well at the start of its third weekend. The latest Disney/Marvel hit added $6.95 million yesterday, down a healthy 43.5 percent from last Friday. That pushed the film across the $200 million domestic threshold ($204.5 million) and sets the stage for a weekend around $24 million. Through 15 days of release, Guardians remains ahead of the pace of Transformers: Age of Extinction by 4 percent as it continues its march toward likely becoming the summer’s top grossing film. Just as well, it leads Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the year’s top film, by 11 percent through the same point in release.

The Expendables 3 got off to a rocky start with $5.88 million on opening day–44 percent less than its 2012 predecessor. BoxOffice projects a $16 million opening weekend from there. Early word of mouth is struggling with a 53 percent Flixster score.

While the disappointing Expendables 3 launch underscores the argument that pirated leaks of the movie impacted box office performance, it’s important to remember that some amount of franchise fatigue was expected for the three-quel. With a projected opening weekend 44 percent lower than The Expendables 2, the drop lines up with other franchise dips upon hitting the three-film mark. For just a few examples, Transformers: Dark of the Moon dropped 19 percent from Revenge of the Fallen (or roughly 30-35 percent in actual ticket sales when adjusting for Moon’s 3D prices), Kick-Ass 2 came in 33 percent under its predecessor’s opening, and The Hangover Part III sank 54 percent from Part II‘s debut.

Let’s Be Cops added $5.63 million on Friday, bringing its cume to $14.03 million in three days–27 percent behind the pace of 2008’s Tropic Thunder. BoxOffice projects Cops will net $17.2 million over the weekend, giving it a 5-day opening around $25.6 million. The Flixster crowd has given the comedy an underwhelming 65 percent approval.

Last but not least, The Giver posted $4.74 million on opening day and may land around $11.85 million for the weekend. While past young adult flicks like The Mortal Instruments and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters similarly opened in August, they opted for Wednesday releases–making direct comps for The Giver somewhat scarce. As is the case with all of this weekend’s newcomers, critics haven’t been kind to the adaptation–however, it does boast the strongest Flixster score (72 percent) among the three new releases.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official studio estimates.

Friday Update: Sources report that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy are easily holding their ground atop the box office to start the weekend. No numbers have been made available for those two yet, but The Expendables 3 is off to a rocky start with a possible $6 million today for a $16.5 million weekend. Considering Thursday night’s preview shows of $875k were fairly solid, these numbers could easily change as the night progresses.

Meanwhile, Let’s Be Cops is slowing down following a healthy Wednesday bow. The comedy is pacing for $5 million today, which would send it to roughly $15.5 million for the 3-day frame and a $23.9 million 5-day bow. Fortunately for Fox, the comedy was produced for just $20 million.

The Giver isn’t faring any better than its fellow newcomers. The adaptation of the popular 1993 novel is reportedly on track for an opening weekend between $10-12 million.

More as it comes…

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