Two relative unknowns beat a plethora of action superstars, as The Expendables 3 dropped significantly from its predecessors, only reaching fourth place. With $16.2 million in its first three days, the sequel took in less than half of the 2010 original’s opening weekend ($34.8 million). This is undoubtedly a disappointment for Lionsgate, as it is hard to imagine the film reaching even the $50 million mark. On the flip side, The Expendables 3 will be less expendable internationally, where it is expected to make most of its coin.
Many things catered to the sequel’s low gross. Primarily, competition for action audiences was stiff this weekend, due to Turtles and Guardians. With a leaked version of the film already online two weeks ago, some probably wanted to download it and then spend their money on other options. Meanwhile, the PG-13 rating may have made it easier for teens to see it, but considering the film appeals more to adults, the decision to make it less bloody may have turned off audiences looking for a hard R-rated actioner.
Meanwhile, teens did not give much of their money to The Giver this weekend, as the adaptation of Lois Lowry’s bestseller took in $12.8 million. Even with an all-star cast including Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift, lousy reviews and a lack of advertising did not do the film any favors. Without much in the way of promised action or excitement, those who did not read the book were unenthused. While the fifth place opening did make more than The Host and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which opened between $9 and $11 million, do not expect long legs for The Giver.
On the limited release front, Daniel Radcliffe’s box office magic has depleted. His romantic comedy, What If, had one of the worst debuts of the year, grabbing $829,000 from 787 theaters to take 17th place. Even with a big ad campaign and good reviews, many are probably saving this generic title for Netflix. After a strong month in limited release, Boyhood broke into the Top 10, with $2.2 million in its first weekend in more than 600 theaters. The critically-acclaimed drama has made $13.8 million so far and could top $25 million if good word-of-mouth continues.
Here are the box office estimates for the Top 10 films at the North American box office, the weekend of August 15 through 17, 2014:
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $28.4 million ($117.6 million total)
2. Guardians of the Galaxy – $24.7 million ($222.3 million total)
3. Let’s Be Cops – $17.7 million ($26.1 million total)
4. The Expendables 3 – $16.2 million (NEW)
5. The Giver – $12.8 million (NEW)
6. Into the Storm – $7.7 million ($31.3 million total)
7. The Hundred-Foot Journey – $7.1 million ($23.6 million total)
8. Lucy – $5.3 million ($107.5 million total)
9. Step Up All In – $2.7 million ($11.8 million total)
10. Boyhood – $2.2 million ($13.8 million total)
NOTE: These numbers are weekend estimates based on Friday and Saturday’s estimated takes. Actual numbers for the three-day weekend are reported on Monday afternoon.