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December 21, 2014
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Ninja Turtles bring box-office power, beat Guardians

Megan Fox surrounded by Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael.
By AP & Reuters
(*)

LOS ANGELES — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sliced off US$65 million at the weekend box office.

Paramount Pictures’ comic-book adaptation featuring Megan Fox alongside computer-generated renditions of the pizza-eating, sewer-dwelling superheroes lunged into first place in its debut weekend, according to studio estimates yesterday. Megan Fox stars in the film as a reporter who becomes a close ally of the four turtles who emerge from the sewer to fight criminals in New York City. The movie cost US$125 million to make. The action film’s tally prompted the studio to announce plans yesterday for a sequel set for June 3, 2016.

Megan Colligan, Paramount’s head of domestic marketing and distribution, said the success of the Ninja Turtles reboot was mostly derived from a pair of distinctly different audiences: men who fondly remembered the 1980s and 90s franchise that spawned a cartoon series, toy line and a live-action film trilogy, and youngsters familiar with a newer Nickelodeon animated TV series.

“It’s odd when you have 25- to 35-year-olds and then seven- to 12-year-olds really excited about the same film,” Colligan said. “The teen audience was actually the one that wasn’t as familiar with the property, so we put a lot of focus on teens. I think we did a great job of getting them out there to see the film, which is so fun, refreshing and unique.”

Marvel Studios’ cosmic romp Guardians of the Galaxy starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista as members of an intergalactic band of do-gooders slid into second place in its second weekend with US$41.5 million, bringing its total domestic haul to US$175.9 million. Marvel and Guardians distributor Disney revealed last month at San Diego Comic-Con that a follow-up is planned for 2017.

“This is the third weekend in a row we’ve had a film overperform,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak. “It’s finally starting to feel like summer. The perception of August used to be that it was the month of the B-sides, not the hits. The movies are now defining what August can be, not the month defining what the movies should be.”

Lucy was another recent success. The mind-bending Scarlett Johansson film came in fifth place with US$9.3 million in its third outing this weekend.

Several newcomers debuted distantly behind the heroes on the half-shell this weekend.

The Warner Bros. disaster film Into the Storm touched down in third place with US$18 million, while the Disney drama The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, arrived in fourth place with US$11.1 million. Universal’s dance sequel Step Up All In popped up in sixth place with US$6.5 million.

AP, Reuters

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