Weekend Box Office: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Grosses $93.7 Million Worldwide, Well Above Expectations

You guys, I’ve got some crazy news. Some news that could shock you. Are you sitting down? Do you have a tight grip on your pants and/or butts? Okay, now that you’ve been suitably prepared, it turns out, the much-hyped Michael Bay-produced remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made lots of money this weekend, even though it was mostly sorta mediocre and no one really liked it (19% on RottenTomatoes, B Cinemascore). Crazy, right? I know. Literally no one could’ve predicted this.

Specifically, it earned $65 million domestic (on a $125 million budget). This even though early projections had it coming in as low as $40 to $45 million. But nostalgia is shockingly powerful . The interest in this movie has been through the roof since it was announced, which is fairly baffling to me for something that I thought was kind of dumb even when I was 11. Remember cartoons?! Remember pizza?! Radical, dude! And let’s be honest, no one ever expected it to be any good. It was being produced by Michael Bay and directed by the Battle: Los Angeles (my review) guy for God’s sake. That kind of resume is the cinematic equivalent of “I’ve been to prison” scrawled on a napkin. Maybe it benefited financially from rock bottom expectations?

The film played 61% male, 55% over-25 years old, and 36% Hispanic. It has also earned $93.7m worldwide as it debuted in 19 international markets as well. What was Paramount’s marketing strategy?  No Fear. They didn’t respond to critics and pundits decrying Michael Bay as the ruiner of childhoods, the weird new designs, or who was or wasn’t playing Shredder and if the turtles were or were not aliens. [Forbes]

Hmm, that sounds plausible enough, but at the same time, what would a “fearful” marketing strategy entail? It’s not like the ads were going to say “we may have blown this one, so use your judgment!” Marketing is marketing, no matter how much the product sucks.

Among the other new major releases this week were Into The Storm, which I don’t remember seeing a single ad for, which grossed $18 million domestically on a $50 million budget. About the same opening as the director’s last film, Final Destination 5, which I still can’t believe wasn’t called 5nal Destination. It’s too early to tell if it will make back its $50 million budget (my money’s on no).

Then there was The Hundred-Foot Journey aka The Best Exotic Tuscan Marigold Salmon Fishery, aka Travel Porn For Moms, which grossed $11.1 million domestically. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but as BoxOfficeMojo points out, better than Million Dollar Arm. Do all movies about India have numbers in the title? Hundred Foot Journey, Million Dollar Arm, Slumdog Millionaire… I don’t think people are making the connection yet. Maybe put something that reads “INDIA” in the title instead next time. “Currying Favor,” “Tikka Tock Tikka Tock, So Sari You Didn’t Find Love Earlier But It’s Never Too Late To Chai,” etc.

Finally, Step Up: All In, the fifth (!!!) installment of the dance fight franchise C-Tates built, twerked up $6.6 million, down 44% from the previous Step Up film, which was already the lowest-grossing of the franchise. But what do you expect? You can only trick people into seeing a Channing Tatum movie without Channing Tatum in it for so long. Why the hell do they keep making these, you might wonder. There’s a very good answer to that, as it turns out.

…this series is the kind that burns up the box office overseas, as the last three entries earned $140m+ worldwide without breaking $60m stateside. It’s the Resident Evil of hip-hop dance adventures. [Forbes]

In fact, when you factor in international dollars, Step Up: All In has already earned $44.3 million dollars. Foreigners, man. Fools for the dance, the lot of them.

Guardians of the Galaxy fell 56% off its opening weekend, pretty standard for a Marvel movie and on par with Cap 2 and Thor 2. Kind of disappointing given how much better a movie Guardians was, but it’s not like those others were terrible either. And at least Guardians‘ 10-day gross ($175.9m) has surpassed Trans4mers, and now holds the biggest second weekend of the year and looks to become the biggest grosser of the Summer. So, one way to look at it is that a non-sequel, incredibly fun and well-made comic sci-fi movie only juuust barely beat out an entirely cynical, three-hour fourth installment of a shameless toy commercial that got old about 15 minutes into the first one. I’d normally say that the X-factor not reflected in the numbers here is that with Guardians, people leave the theater excited to see James Gunn’s next movie, whereas Michael Bay is milking a dying franchise while destroying his reputation in the process. But the fact that it made any money at all after Transformers 1, 2, and 3 seems to whole disprove this theory. Dude is the idiot whisperer. You make enough loud noises and fast movements and they all come running.