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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

'Ninja Turtles' tops 'Expendables 3,' 'Let's Be Cops' at box office

By By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times (MCT)

Published: Sun, Aug. 17 7:32 p.m. MDT

 This image released by Lionsgate shows Sylvester Stallone, left, and Jason Statham, center, in a scene from \

This image released by Lionsgate shows Sylvester Stallone, left, and Jason Statham, center, in a scene from "Expendables 3."

(Phil Bray, AP)

LOS ANGELES — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” ruled the box office for the second week and “Guardians of the Galaxy” was runner-up in its third week, leaving three very different new films — “Let’s Be Cops,” “The Expendables 3” and “The Giver” — fighting for the remaining spots in the top five.

“Ninja Turtles” brought in an estimated $28.4 million in the U.S. and Canada for a cumulative total of $117.6 million. “Guardians” made an estimated $24.7 million over the weekend for a new total of $222.3 million.

“Let’s Be Cops” came in third, bringing in an estimated $17.7 million for the weekend. Having opened last Wednesday to largely unfavorable reviews, the weekend’s haul brings the film’s total to $26.1 million.

“We know how this film plays, critics be damned. People enjoy this movie,” said Chris Aronson, head of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox.

The film stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. (also seen together on TV’s “New Girl”) as two friends who impersonate police officers for fun and then find themselves involved in bringing down a genuine crime ring. As the nation watched tensions rise between police and residents in Ferguson, Mo., questions swirled on social media whether this might not have been the best week to release a movie that parodies the implicit power of uniformed authority. However any concerns that real-world events might keep audiences from theaters were apparently unfounded.

“At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with that,” Aronson said. “This is a total farce, it’s a comedic setup and to make the connection is I think just ridiculous.”

Aronson noted that “we’re very sensitive to the situation and we did follow,” but as events unfolded throughout the week, the marketing and release of the film were already well in motion. “The ship had sort of sailed at that point. There was nothing we could do at that point. So for us it was, fingers-crossed.”

In fourth place for the weekend was “The Expendables 3” with an estimated $16.2 million. The third installment in the action franchise was the first to be rated PG-13 rather than R, but the opening was the weakest yet. The combined box-office appeal of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li and many more action stars wasn’t enough to get audiences out in the same numbers.

Coming in fifth place was “The Giver,” an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel directed by Phillip Noyce, with an estimated $12.8 million.

With “Divergent” opening earlier this year to more than $54 million and the next installment of the “Hunger Games” franchise waiting in the wings, the results for “The Giver” could add fuel to concerns that audiences can take only so many young-adult novel adaptations.

“I don’t think there’s young-adult fatigue,” said Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution for the Weinstein Co. “This is a different movie. This has got Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in it, and it’s much more a thinking person’s movie as well. It’s not the action piece some of these other franchises are.”

Lomis added: “You’d love to have a ‘Hunger Games,’ but this is not ‘Hunger Games.’ This is something different.”

“Boyhood” expanded to 775 screens in its sixth week of release for an estimated weekend take of $2.2 million and a cumulative gross of $13.8 million. The expansion led to the film’s first appearance in the top 10.

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