“Guardians of the Galaxy” can't be stopped.
The Marvel blockbuster finished No. 1 at the box office for the fourth non-consecutive weekend, making it one of only four films to do so in the past decade (along with “The Dark Knight,” “Avatar” and “The Hunger Games”). Its estimated $10.2 million gross (down 41 percent) brings it to a whopping $294.6 million Stateside, making it the highest-grossing film ever in the month of August – a record that was held by “The Sixth Sense” for a full 15 years.
Unfortunately, “Guardians'” victory can't hide the fact that this weekend was the lowest-grossing in two years, with the top 12 films combined bringing in a paltry $51.9 million. Though early September is traditionally slow, this weekend's underwhelming total is part of a larger trend that saw Hollywood coming off the weakest summer in nearly a decade.
Finishing in second place is former box-office champ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” which eased 46 percent to $6.5 million. The Michael Bay-produced reboot now stands at an impressive $174.6 million, making it one of the biggest hits of the summer season.
YA adaptation “If I Stay,” meanwhile, grabbed $5.75 million in third place (down 38 percent), bringing it to $39.7 million – a solid gross considering the film's reported $11 million budget. Following closely in fourth was the sleeper comedy “Let's Be Cops” with $5.4 million (down 35 percent) and a total gross of $66.6 million to date.
Further down the list are last weekend's two wide openers – Pierce Brosnan actioner “The November Man” and found-footage horror film “As Above, So Below” – which dropped to fifth and sixth place, respectively. The films finished with $4.2 million (down 47 percent) and $3.7 million (down 57 percent), good for 10-day totals of $17.8 million and $15.5 million.
Falling outside the top ten was faith-based period film “The Identical,” the weekend's only new wide release which tanked badly in eleventh place with just $1.1 million from 1,956 screens. The underwhelming gross was a big disappointment for distributor Freestyle Releasing, which found such huge success earlier this year with “God's Not Dead,” another faith-based drama that finished with over $62 million worldwide. With a reported budget of $16 million, “The Identical” will no doubt be counted as one of the fall season's biggest flops when all is said and done.
Next weekend's wide openers are family sequel “Dolphin Tale 2” and thriller “No Good Deed” starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson.