North America loved the Turtles this weekend, as Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo blasted to the top of the box office, with a hefty $65 million opening. That is the fourth largest August opening ever (behind Guardians of the Galaxy, The Bourne Ultimatum and Rush Hour 2) and even had a bigger audience than the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie did when that film broke records in March 1990. After a July filled with disappointing returns, it is a relief to see that this August is bringing in the crowds.
The Michael Bay-produced film looked like it had a steep hill to climb this weekend, with stiff competition from Guardians of the Galaxy, poor reviews, and a lack of riveting trailers or commercials. However, nostalgia and a lack of major options for families this summer helped the film swing to the top. The Turtles blasted off on Friday, raking in $25.6 million (with $4.6 million coming from Thursday evening shows), then declined 14% on Saturday to make $22.1 million. Paramount estimates the film will drop only 22% on Sunday to gross $17.3 million.
In its first three days, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has already outgrossed (and outsold) the 2007 CGI reboot, TMNT, which opened to $24.3 million on the way to a $54.1 million final. Among similar titles, it did slightly better than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which opened to $54.7 million five Augusts ago. Regardless, even with few titles aimed at families over the next week, a B CinemaScore does not suggest a long road ahead. Still, the film could make back its $125 million budget domestically by the end of next weekend.
Even though Guardians of the Galaxy was expected to be in a tight race with the Turtles this weekend, it still held strong in second place. The Blue Swede-loving superheroes added an extra $41.5 million to their total, taking in nearly $176 million in 10 days. While that is a 56% drop, it also had big competition for adult males this weekend, and did have a better hold than Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which dropped 57% to take in $41.2 million in April). Guardians has the second-best second weekend of the year, after The LEGO Movie ($49.8 million), which also had Chris Pratt in the lead. Guardians of the Galaxy is still running ahead of any other title this year after the 10-day mark and is nearly guaranteed to be the summer’s biggest-grossing title. (How many of you would have thought Guardians of the Galaxy would be the biggest moneymaker in North America this summer?)