Box Office: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ says ‘Cowabunga!’ with massive $65 million weekend

Have mutant ninja turtles and Chris Pratt saved the summer of 2014? Well, that may actually be an impossible feat at this point in the box office season, but both “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are delivering a welcome late summer surge at your local multiplex.  The latter opened to astronomical numbers last weekend. This time those heroes with a half-shell delivered a major surprise.

Paramount Pictures' reboot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was expected to open somewhere between $45-50 million. Instead, the Michael Bay produced adventure played to a much broader audience than expected and took in an eye-brow raising $65 million over the the three-day frame. That's a much need boost for the studio after the disappointing returns for “Hercules” last month and proves the new deal with “TMNT” producer Michael Bay wasn't just about more “Transformers” movies.  The only concern for Paramount has to be the film's B Cinemascore. Will the movie have a huge drop next weekend?  Probably, but if it can hit $150-170 domestic global returns should make up the film's reported $125 million budget.

Dropping to no. 2 was last week's champ “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  The now beloved James Gunn space adventure took in another $41.5 million for a very impressive $175.9 million over its first 10 days.  Walt Disney Studios and Marvel would have liked a smaller drop from its opening frame, but such competition from “TMNT” was not expected. “Guardians” is now at the same point that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was during its current run.  That movie is looking like it will top out with slightly more than $250 million domestic (It's grossed over $1 billion across the world).  Can “Guardians” preform better and reach $300 million?  It's gonna be close.

Clearly a dating mistake by Warner Bros., “Into the Storm” got hammered by the competition and only found $18 million over its first three days. The star-less super storm movie will be lucky to match its reported $50 million budget as WB's disappointing summer continues.

Another weak opener was DreamWorks Pictures' “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”  Programmed as a feel good alternative for older audiences, “Journey” earned just $11.1 million.  DreamWorks and distributor Walt Disney Studios will have to hope the film's A Cinemascore (far and away the highest of any of the new releases) means positive word of mouth is a head.  “Jersey Boys” had a similar opening and eventually found $46 million from a similar audience. If “Journey” can come close to that number stateside international returns might eventually get the film into the black.

Dropping to fifth place was Universal Pictures and Europa's “Lucy.” The Scarlett Johansson action film will official earn “blockbuster” status when it hits $100 million.  After $9.3 million and $97.3 million to date it's not there yet, but it will be by next Sunday.

Also opening this weekend was “Step Up All In,” the fifth installment in the “Step Up” franchise.  Each film has brought diminishing returns and “All In” was no different opening to a lazy $6.5 million.  However, with $37.7 million already overseas, Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment aren't worried about how this low budget dance movie plays back home.

In limited release, CBS Films' “What If” starring Daniel Radcliffe opened to OK returns taking in $130,000,  or $6,500 per screen.  With strong reviews and an A- Cinemascore rating the studio will hope for better results as it expands nationwide.

Among other limited performers, “Boyhood” took in another $2 million and hit $10.6 million overall.  Roadside Attraction's “A Most Wanted Man” pulled in $2.2 million for $10.4 million total.

New releases this upcoming week include “Lets Be Cops!” on Wednesday and “The Expendables 3” and “The Giver” on Friday.

Box office actuals are released on Monday.