The Washington Post

BOX OFFICE: Comic books rule again, as ‘Ninja Turtles’ ($28M) and ‘Guardians’ ($25M) top weekend box office

Raphael (from left), Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Donatello in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” (AP/Paramoun Pictures/Industrial Light & Magic)


FILMS SPRUNG from comic books have now won every weekend in August.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” grossed $28.4-million, according to studio estimates Sunday, to top the domestic box office for the second straight week. Final numbers are due Monday.

The runner-up was Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” ($24.7-million domestic), which had won the month’s first weekend with $94.3-million — setting a record for biggest August opening ever in North America.


Movies featuring characters who are cartoons, or are based on comic-book creations, have now won at least 16 box-office weekends in 2014 — including “Frozen”; “The LEGO Movie” (four weeks); “300: Rise of an Empire”; “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”; “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (three weeks); “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″; and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (two weeks). (And that does not include the fairy tale “Maleficent” or “Transformers” — two weekend winners that both have had cartoon incarnations.)

The Ninja Turtles, of course, debuted in the 1984 comic by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

“The Expendables 3″ opened with an anemic $16.2-million — the worst debut in the franchise’s history; it was fourth for the weekend behind “Let’s Be Cops” ($17.7-million). Some industry observers said that “Expendables” was hurt by piracy, as a leaked online copy of the film was reportedly viewed at least 2.2-million times.  (“Expendables 3″ finished not too far ahead of another new film, “The Giver,” which grossed $12.8 million.)

And globally, the DreamWorks Animation sequel “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ topped the weekend’s foreign box office with $37.7-million in 28 markets, reports Variety.


* The nine biggest films of the year domestically all have franchise ties to comic books and/or animation. They are: “Captain America” 2; “The LEGO Movie”; “Transformers”; “Maleficent”; “X-Men: Days of Future Past”; “GOTG”; “Amazing Spider-Man 2″; “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”; and “Godzilla (2014).”

* “GOTG” has already grossed $222-million domestically — the sixth biggest film of the year in just three weeks — and more than $418-million worldwide.

* “TMNT” has now grossed more than $185-million worldwide.

* For comparison’s sake, the first “Expendables” (2010) opened to nearly $35-million, and its first sequel (2012) opened to nearly $29-million.




Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.
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