Box Office: ‘Guardians’ returns to no. 1 as ‘Sin City 2’ bombs

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has been America's highest grossing movie in 2014 since June.  It won't be for much longer.  Making a surprise return to no. 1 after ceding the top slot to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” over the past two weeks, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is poised to knock off studio stablemate “The Winter Soldier” by next weekend.

“Galaxy” has been the rare bright spot in a solid, but generally disappointing summer for Hollywood.  The James Gunn directed action comedy pulled in another $17.6 million for $251.8 million to date. The franchise starter should end up with somewhere between $280-290 million domestic, but its hard to see it crossing the $300 million mark.  That means either “Interstellar” or “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1,” both of which are being released in November, will be tasked with providing that monster hit theater owners are looking for.  How dramatic is the lack of a $300 million grosser for the movie industry? It's been 13 years since the box office has gone this long without a movie hitting that mark this far into the year.

Last weekend's champ, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” dropped to no. 2 finding another $16.8 million and $145.6 million to date.  Paramount's reboot has been a surprise late summer hit that could end up with $180-190 million domestic when all is said an done.

Providing Warner Bros. with a late summer player at no. 3 was “If I Stay.” The young adult drama grossed $16.3 million over its first three days. With just an $11 million budget, “Stay” should easily get into the black for the studio.

Getting a bump as one of the few true comedies in the market at no. 4 is “Let's Be Cops!”  The 20th Century Fox flick earned another $11 million for $45.2 million overall.  It's looking like it will end up with $65 million plus, but is likely not a franchise starter.

Debuting in fifth place was Sony Pictures faith based football flick “When the Game Stands Tall.” The Jim Caviezel drama took in $9 million over its first three days. With a reported production budget of just $15 million, “the Game” should easily break even for distributor Sony Pictures.

The other new wide release this weekend was Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's “Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For” with just $6.4 million.  Some outlets have reported the film's production budget at $60-70 million, but that seems somewhat hard to believe. Even if it matched the original's $40 million cost “A Dame to Kill For” is still one of the biggest bombs of the year. The sequel to 2005's groundbreaking “Sin City” was simply a good eight years too late and couldn't differentiate itself enough from its predecessor.  The Weinstein Company might have been better off trying to stick to last fall's original release date or finding a less competitive time in the spring.

New releases this week include “As Above/So Below” and “The November Man.”

Final weekend figures are released on Monday.