'Guardians,' 'Turtles' Lead August To Record $1 Billion Haul
Coming off a very weak July, the domestic box office got a lift in August thanks to strong performances from Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Overall business came in at a record-setting $1.02 billion—a whopping 10 percent above last August's all-time level.

August wound up being the second biggest month of the Summer, ahead of May and July and a bit behind June. That's very unusual—August is typically the lowest-grossing month of the Summer by a large margin. This helps explain why, even with August's strong performance, the Summer as a whole wasn't particularly impressive.

Total domestic box office during the season was $4.06 billion, which is down 15 percent from last year and is the lowest total since 2006. Factoring in ticket price inflation, this was the worst Summer since 1992.

For August—and for the year as a whole so far—Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was the highest-grossing movie with over $275 million. Originally pegged as a risky venture for Marvel, Guardians could wind up as their highest-grossing non-sequel ever ahead of the first Iron Man ($318.4 million). Even if it doesn't make it there, it will be the biggest August release ever ahead of 1999's The Sixth Sense ($293.5 million).

Opening in the shadow of Guardians of the Galaxy wasn't much of a problem for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which earned $162.6 million through the end of August. While that's not on par with producer Michael Bay's Transformers movies, it's still a noticeable step up from fellow Paramount toy franchise G.I. Joe. Ninja Turtles is on track for at least $185 million total, and a sequel is moving forward with a June 2016 release date.

In a distant third place, Let's Be Cops scored $57.4 million through its first 19 days. That's a fairly impressive tally for a low-budget comedy lacking any serious stars (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. are best-known for TV's New Girl).

Among July holdovers, Scarlett Johansson's Lucy was tops with $56.6 million. Despite mixed word-of-mouth, the movie still wound up holding well through the month, and has now earned more than Angelina Jolie's Salt.

Into The Storm rounded out the Top Five with $42 million. That's a so-so result for this tornado thriller, though its hard to imagine how it could have done much better against such steep competition.

There were a few other decent performers in August. After a quiet opening, The Hundred-Foot Journey has had excellent holds; through the end of the month, the Helen Mirren cooking drama has netted $39.6 million. Before the end of its run, it should tip over $50 million. Meanwhile, teen romance If I Stay took in $29.9 million in its first ten days, which is a solid result for a low-budget young-adult adaptation.

Along the same lines, The Giver was a disappointment considering how popular the book is, though it still seems poised to wind up over $40 million.

More so than other months this Summer, August delivered a handful of bombs. The Expendables 3 earned just $33.2 million through its first 17 days, which is less than half of its predecessor's tally over the same period of time.

Meanwhile, James Brown biopic Get On Up flopped with just $29.6 million, while Step Up All In earned just $14.2 million (and will close with less than half as much as its predecessor).

The biggest bomb of August—and possibly the Summer as a whole—was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. It arrived in theaters over nine years after the original Sin City, and apparently lost a lot of goodwill during that time: its $10.8 million 10-day gross is less than the first movie made in one day.

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