1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $65 million [debut week] – Paramount saw a lot more green this weekend than expected as the Michael Bay produced relaunch of the TMNT franchise proved audiences were hungry for some turtle power. This is by far the highest opening of the franchises four films. The relaunch out-grossed the previous three live-action, which combined for $57 million. By comparison, the most recent Turtles’ outing, the animated 2007 “TMNT,” earned a total of $54 million. While opening week proved successful, “Turtles” has a $125 million budget and with some decidedly mixed reviews, next week will prove telling for its long-term success.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy – $41.5 million [2nd week; $175.9 million in total] – Marvel Studios’ latest hit helped push distributor Walt Disney Pictures to over $1 billion for 2014, but fell to second place after a 67 percent drop. That second week fall-off is about the same as “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” indicating that good word-of-mouth didn’t lead to a new audience coming in to check it out. “Guardians” was expected to compete in a neck and neck race for the top spot with “Turtles,” but with “Turtles” surpassing expectations, it had to settle for second place.
3. Into the Storm – $18 million [debut week] – The other heavily hyped new release of the week blew in with a solid haul. It had a respectable opening against two big heavyweights and at a cost of just $50 million, distributor Warner Bros. should be pleased with its performance.
4. The Hundred-Foot Journey – $11.2 million [debut week] – Helen Mirren’s food-based drama had a decent debut, but it was behind Julia Roberts’ “Eat Pray Love,” which opened to $23 million while “Julie and Julia” debuted to $20 million
5. Step Up All In – $6.6 million [debut week] – The “Step Up” series keeps having diminishing returns for each sequel, which has dropped a little more than its predecessor. The 2006 original opened to $20.6 million while the 2012 “Step Up Revolution,” only managed $11.7 million. This latest performance indicates audiences may finally have stepped away from their interest in the franchise.