Weekend Report: 'Guardians' Holds Top Spot on Slowest Weekend in Six Years
On one of the worst weekends in years, Guardians of the Galaxy easily held on to first place for the third-straight frame. Meanwhile, The Identical—the week's only new nationwide release—bombed with less than $2 million.

The Top 12 earned $51.5 million, which makes it the lowest-grossing weekend in six years. In the past decade, the worst weekend was September 5-7, 2008, when the Top 12 grossed $50.3 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy eased 39 percent to $10.4 million. This is the movie's fourth weekend in first place; the only other movies to accomplish such a feat in the past decade are The Dark Knight, Avatar and The Hunger Games.

On Saturday, Guardians passed last Summer's Man of Steel, which is noteworthy given the discrepancy in pre-existing fanbases for these two superhero movies. With $294.8 million, Guardians is now the highest-grossing movie ever from the month of August (ahead of The Sixth Sense), and it's on track to ultimately pass the original Iron Man's $318 million total.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles held on to second place with $6.5 million (down 46 percent). The movie has grossed an impressive $174.6 million so far.

Let's Be Cops added $5.57 million (off 33 percent) for a very good $66.8 million total. Meanwhile, If I Stay eased 40 percent to $5.56 million, which brings its total to $39.5 million.

Last weekend's openers both dropped off quickly this weekend. The November Man fell 46 percent to $4.3 million, which brings its 12-day total to a weak $18 million. Meanwhile, As Above/So Below plummeted 55 percent to $3.85 million for a total of $15.7 million.

The Identical opened in 12th place with just $1.59 million. That's a fraction of recent faith-based movie God's Not Dead ($9.2 million), which was also from Freestyle Releasing. Even worse, it earned less than half as much as Moms' Night Out, which opened to $4.3 million from 900 fewer theaters.

As hard as this is to believe, The Identical was significantly overestimated. Distributor Freestyle Releasing was banking on a 33 percent Saturday-to-Sunday bump thanks to increased traffic from churchgoers; instead, the movie fell 21 percent (which was still the best hold in the Top 12).

By the end of April, this was shaping up to be the year of the faith-based movie: Heaven is for Real, God's Not Dead and Son of God all did impressive business at the domestic box office. Since then, though, its been tough to get this audience out to theaters. Moms' Night Out, Persecuted, When the Game Stands Tall and now The Identical have struggled to make serious inroads with Christian moviegoers.

The reason is quite simple: these were all movies with a faith component, not movies about faith itself. In comparison, God's Not Dead, Heaven is for Real and Son of God are all primarily focused on the faith angle (it's right there in their titles).

Playing at 337 IMAX theaters, the Forrest Gump re-release took in a weak $381,654 this weekend. In comparison, the Raiders of the Lost Ark re-release opened to $1.67 million from 267 IMAX theaters on the same weekend in 2012.

This gap can be explained in a few ways. First, it's unlikely that Paramount spent a ton of money on marketing; in comparison, the Raiders re-release had a solid campaign that coincided with the franchise's upcoming Blu-ray release. Also, Forrest Gump lacks the kind of thrills that are typically associated with the IMAX format, which made it tougher to get people to pay $15 for something they can watch at home for free.

Around-the-World Roundup

Lucy led the foreign box office this weekend with $25.5 million. The Luc Besson hit opened on Wednesday in South Korea and earned an impressive $7 million through Sunday. To date, Lucy has earned over $192 million overseas, and still has Russia and China on the way.

Hercules reached a few key markets this weekend and added $17.1 million. It had a strong $4.4 million first place debut in Brazil, but was less impressive in Germany ($3 million) and Spain ($1.4 million). The movie has now grossed $122.9 million overseas, and still has to open in Japan and China.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes took in $16.6 million this weekend, which brings its total to an impressive $435.5 million. Its biggest markets so far is China, where it has earned $72 million in just 10 days. The movie opens in Japan on September 19th, and should do fairly well there (Rise earned over $30 million back in 2011).

Into the Storm added $11.6 million from 54 markets; so far, it's earned $65.7 million overseas. It opened to a solid $3.65 million in Mexico, but was less impressive in Australia ($1.8 million).

Without any major new openings, it was a quiet weekend for Guardians of the Galaxy. The Marvel hit added $11.5 million for a new total of $291.6 million. It has now earned more worldwide ($586 million) than the first Iron Man, and still has Japan, China and Italy on the way. Based on comparable Summer 2014 titles, Guardians will almost certainly take in over $100 million from those three markets, which will push its worldwide total past $700 million.

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This Weekend in Past Years

• 2013 -
Vin Wins As 'Riddick' Leads Quiet Weekend

• 2012 - 'Words,' Cold Light' Bomb on Worst Weekend in Years

• 2011 - 'Contagion' Catches On

• 2010 - 'Resident Evil' Earns Extra Life with Fourth Movie

• 2009 - {lnk45722}Tyler Perry 'Can Do' Good at the Box Office{/lnk}

• 2007 -
'3:10 to Yuma' Arrives at Top Spot

• 2006 - 'Covenant' Hovers Over Weak Weekend

• 2005 - 'Exorcism' Torments Top Spot

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