'Turtles' outmuscle veteran action heroes at box office

Veronique Dupont
(L-R) Actors Lee Pace, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel at a screening of "Guardians of the Galaxy" in New York on July 29, 2014
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(L-R) Actors Lee Pace, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel at a screening of "Guardians of the Galaxy" in New York on July 29, 2014 (AFP Photo/Andrew Toth)

Los Angeles (AFP) - The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" kept a lock on the top spot at the North American box office at the weekend, outmuscling Sylvester Stallone's latest "Expendables" action-hero installment, industry data showed.

The famous pizza-munching turtles, on a mission to save New York from diabolical evil-doers plotting to unleash a virus, raked in $28.5 million in their second weekend in theaters, box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations reported.

The turtles remained just ahead of Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" in second place, the critically acclaimed science-fiction superhero romp which added another $25.1 million to its three-week haul of $222.7 million.

Third spot was taken by raunchy adult comedy "Let's Be Cops", starring Damon Wayans Jr, about two friends who become entangled in criminal intrigue when they dress up as police officers for a costume party.

The film, which has been savaged by overwhelmingly negative reviews, still took in $17.8 million in its opening weekend, meaning the film will turn a profit after costing around $17 million to make.

It also elbowed past the veteran action heroes of Sylvester Stallone's geriatric "The Expendables 3".

The latest installment in the light-hearted action romp took just $15.9 million on its opening weekend to finish in fourth.

The first two films in "The Expendables" series had taken $34.8 million and $28.6 million in their opening weekends, suggesting that interest in the franchise, which groups together a galaxy of action stars including Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford, is firmly on the wane.

In fifth place was dystopian drama "The Giver" based on Lois Lowry's 1993 novel of the same name. The film, starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Brenton Thwaites, earned $12.3 million.

Turbulent weather disaster movie "Into The Storm" was in sixth place with $7.9 million while "The Hundred Foot Journey", a romantic comedy with Helen Mirren and Om Puri as culture-clashing restaurateurs, was seventh with $7.2 million.

French action film "Lucy", starring Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule with telekinetic powers, was eighth with $5.5 million in its fourth week in theaters.

Ninth place was taken by dance movie "Step Up All In", which took $2.7 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was "Hercules" which earned $2.1 million.