After two weekends away from the top spot, the space renegades of Guardians of the Galaxy clinched the #1 position at the weekend box office once again. With $17.6 million in its fourth frame – a small 30% drop from last week’s take, outstanding for a Marvel Studios film – the sci-fi adventure is days away from becoming 2014’s highest-grossing film. (Its $251.9 million gross so far is the biggest of the summer session, having passed Transformers: Age of Extinction‘s North American final on Saturday.) With such a good hold, it is likely the film will re-emerge to the top spot over Labor Day weekend and now stands a good chance of surpassing $300 million if strong word-of-mouth continues.
Dropping to second but continuing its robust run were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, bringing in $16.8 million, for a $145.6 million cume. Later this week, the Paramount film will surpass G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, another early August actioner from 2009 that performed well despite poor trailers and a mixed reception. The 41% drop this weekend indicates that the film is playing well with families and that the negative reaction has not been much of a factor in its run. Expect a final of more than $180 million.
In third place is the film most box office prognosticators expected would end up on top: If I Stay. However, without 3D and IMAX, it sold the most tickets out of any film in theaters this weekend. Its $16.4 million gross is good (especially for a film with an $11 million budget), although it is still only about a third of the debut of The Fault in our Stars earlier in the summer. The adaptation of Gayle Forman’s bestseller debuted at around the same level of 2013’s Carrie, another film with Chloë Grace Moretz with known source material. Still, with little out for females, the film could hold better over the next few weeks than the John Green adaptation. The audience skewed mostly female (a reported 77% of opening night crowds) and those under 25 (61%).
Dipping 38% to fourth place this weekend was Let’s Be Cops, which grossed $11 million to raise its total to $45.2 million. Despite heavy competition for young adults, the film has done better than its awful reviews and middling trailers would suggest. Let’s Be Cops has already surpassed the cume of Sex Tape, which boasted far more star power with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. With no broad comedies out until This is Where I Leave You (Sept. 19), Let’s Be Cops could have a final near $80 million and will likely go down as one of the summer’s most profitable titles.