Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy scored the highest second weekend of the Summer so far.
The Top 12 earned $174.2 million this weekend, which is up 22 percent from the same frame last year. This August remains on track to be the biggest ever, and could be the first to pass $1 billion.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ruled the box office with $65.6 million this weekend. That ranks fourth all-time in the month of August. It's noticeably higher than G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra ($54.7 million), though 3D premiums and ticket price inflation likely account for most of that gap. The movie also made more in one weekend than 2007 animated Turtles movie TMNT earned in its entire run.
This strong opening can be attributed primarily to the power of the Ninja Turtles brand. Older moviegoers (over 25, at least), have a fondness for the Turtles of the 80s and 90s, while children have formed a connection with the Turtles via the recent (and very popular) Nickelodeon animated show. This new version managed to align nicely with the existing brand, while also creating something visually distinct from its predecessors (primarily with the CGI turtles and Michael Bay style action). As a result, it drew strong interest from moviegoers young and old: according to Paramount, the audience was 55 percent over the age of 25.
Reviews are poor (19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and word-of-mouth is mixed (a "B" CinemaScore isn't great for a movie like this), so it's unclear exactly how well Ninja Turtles is going to hold up. If it plays like the recent Transformers movie, it will wind up with less than $160 million. A better comparison may be G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which opened on the same weekend in 2009: if Turtles follows that movie's pattern, it will close with nearly $180 million.
Paramount seems fairly pleased with these opening weekend results: on Sunday morning, they announced that they plan to release a sequel on June 3rd, 2016.
In second place, Guardians of the Galaxy fell 55 percent to $42.1 million, which is the biggest second weekend of the Summer. That drop is essentially on par with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World. To date, Guardians has earned $176.5 million—the best 10-day total of the year—and remains on track to be the top movie of the Summer with over $260 million.
Into the Storm opened in third place with $17.3 million. That's slightly lower than director Steven Quale's Final Destination 5, which opened to $18 million around the same time in 2011. However, it is a bit higher than Snakes on a Plane ($15.2 million), which had a similar B-movie quality to it.
Of course, the closest comparison for Into The Storm is fellow tornado movie Twister, which opened to $41 million back in 1996. The difference between these two movies is that Twister had human characters to connect to, while Into the Storm was exclusively focused on delivering CGI thrills.
The audience was 58 percent female and 71 percent over the age of 25. They awarded the movie a "B" CinemaScore. This is the type of movie that is usually very front-loaded; it would be surprising if this ultimately came anywhere near $50 million.
Continued with a look at 'Hundred-Foot Journey,' 'Step Up All In' and the Around-the-World Roundup >>
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This Weekend's Forecast:
• Forecast: Will 'Ninja Turtles' Take Down 'Guardians' This Weekend?
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2013 - Audiences Travel to 'Elysium' Over Crowded Weekend
• 2012 - 'Legacy' Debut Keeps 'Bourne' Franchise Alive
• 2011 - 'Apes' Clings to Top Spot, 'Help' Cleans Up• 2010 - 'Expendables' Pump Up, 'Eat Pray Love' Pigs Out, 'Scott Pilgrim' Powers Down
• 2009 - 'G.I. Joe' Doesn't Roll Snake Eyes
• 2008 - 'Dark Knight' Still Ablaze in Fourth Week
• 2007 - 'Rush Hour 3' Packs Less Punch
• 2006 - 'Step Up' Stands Out, 'World Trade Center' Sturdy in Third
• 2005 - 'Four Brothers,' 'Skeleton Key' Bury 'Deuce Bigalow'
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic