National News

Cowabunga! 'Ninja Turtles' bring box-office power

By Derrik J. Lang, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" sliced off $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 Sunday. The action film's totally tubular result prompted the studio to announce plans Sunday 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 7- 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 $41.5 million, bringing its total domestic haul to $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 $9.3 million in 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 $18 million, while the Disney drama "The Hundred-Foot Journey," starring Helen Mirren, arrived in fourth place with $11.1 million. Universal's dance sequel "Step Up All In" popped up in sixth place with $6.5 million.

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," $65 million.

2. "Guardians of the Galaxy," $41.5 million.

3. "Into the Storm," $18 million.

4. "The Hundred-Foot Journey," $11.1 million.

5. "Lucy," $9.3 million.

6. "Step Up All In," $6.5 million.

7. "Hercules," $5.7 million.

8. "Get on Up," $5 million.

9. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," $4.4 million.

10. "Planes: Fire & Rescue," $2.4 million.

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Universal and Focus are owned by NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .

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