By Pamela McClintock
The penultimate weekend of summer ranged from lackluster to terrible for new offerings If I Stay and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, making way for Guardians of the Galaxy to reclaim the top spot at the North American box office as it became the top grossing film of the season.
Marvel Studios and Disney’s Guardians took in $17.6 million in its fourth weekend for a domestic total of $251.9 million, eclipsing the $243.3 million grossed by Transformers: Age of Extinction. To boot, it should soon become the top grossing film of the year so far in North America when overtaking fellow Marvel title Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259.8 million). Globally, Guardians has now grossed $489 million.
Holdover Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles narrowly beat YA tearjerker If I Stay to take the No. 2 spot in its third weekend, grossing $16.8 million for a domestic total of $145.6 million. If I Stay followed with $16.4 million.
The YA film adaptation, starring Chloe Grace Moretz, was widely expected to win the weekend with an $18 million-plus debut. However, the movie quickly slowed on Friday.
From directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, Sin City 2 placed a dismal No. 8 with $6.4 million. The sequel opens nine years after the first film launched to more than $29 million (many are questioning whether the gap was too long).
The weekend’s third new offering, inspirational high school football drama When the Game Stands Tall, enjoyed solid business, grossing $9 million to come in No. 5. From Sony’s faith-based label Affirm, the movie was the only new title to see an uptick on Saturday, thanks to families.
If I Stay, earning an A- CinemaScore, was fueled by younger females, although they didn’t turn out in force like they did for The Fault in Our Stars, which opened to a rousing $48 million earlier this summer. Females made up 77 percent of ticket buyers for If I Stay, while 61 percent were under the age of 25.
The good news for New Line and MGM is that If I Stay only cost $11 million to make.
If I Stay follows a 17-year-old girl whose family is killed in a car accident. The accident puts her in a coma, and as she wavers between life and death, she must decide if she’ll fight to live for her boyfriend or join her family in death. R.J. Cutler is making his feature directorial debut on the adaptation of Gayle Forman’s novel.
Sin City 2 earned a B- CinemaScore. Males made up 64 percent of the audience, while 78 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25. The sequel was originally supposed to open in Oct. 2013.
Dimension Films and The Weinstein Co. are releasing the R-rated sequel, which was financed and produced by Rodriguez’s Quick Draw Productions, Aldamisa, AR Films, Miramax and Solipsist. The movie sees returning castmembers Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis.
Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis and Alexander Ludwig star in When the Game Stands Tall, which is based on the story of Northern California high school De La Salle’s 151-game winning streak, and what happened after the team finally lost. The movie earned an A- CinemaScore.
Fox’s R-rated comedy Let’s Be Cops fell less than 40 percent in its second weekend to place No. 4 with $11 million for a domestic total of $45.2 million.
The Weinstein Co. and Walden Media’s YA film adaptation The Giver placed No. 6 in its second weekend, dipping 45 percent to $6.7 million for a total $24.1 million. The movie, which opened $12.3 million last weekend, was no doubt hurt by If I Stay.
Lionsgate and Millennium’s The Expendables 3 took the No. 7 spot, tumbling 58 percent in its second outing to $6.6 million after a franchise worst $15.9 million debut. The movie, hurt by piracy and franchise fatigue, has earned a total $27.5 million in North America.