Has the AARP action craze run its course? Or did moviegoers only ever give a shit about Sly Stallone’s geriatric supergroup because they had nothing better to waste their hard-earned dough on during the middle of August? Opening on the same calendar weekend as its predecessors, The Expendables 3 earned a paltry $16.2 million—about half of what both the original and the sequel grossed out the gate, and despite the combined box-office draw of Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, and famous tough-guy icon Kelsey Grammer. Maybe if Stallone had coughed up the extra change to draft Grammer’s wingman, David “Wild Man” Hyde Pierce, the franchise wouldn’t be facing retirement.
For their adrenaline fix, audiences looked to a couple of holdovers, both of which are contributing to what will probably turn out to be the biggest August on box-office record. In its second weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continued to triumph over bad reviews and the advancing years of the heroes’ original demographic; despite the fact that most of those who grew up with the Turtles are now old enough to star in The Expendables 4, the film topped the charts again with another $28.4 million. Right behind it was Guardians Of The Galaxy, adding $24.7 million to its $222 million domestic gross—a haul big enough to put it within striking distance of the year’s other Marvel smash, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. (Like Stallone, maybe Steve Rogers is getting too long in the tooth to compete with a bunch of virile youngsters.)
All the faded star power of the Expendables roster wasn’t even enough to compete with the buddy-cop pairing of Jake Johnson and Damon Wayons Jr., whose Let’s Be Cops ($17.7 million) got chewed out by most (but, ahem, not all) of the nation’s film critics. Only the tepidly received adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver fell to Stallone and company, earning just $12.7 million and rendering pointless the Weinsteins’ transparent attempts to spin the property into a bankable, Divergent-style series. (To put it in Giver terms, both franchises seem bound for Elsewhere.) Meanwhile, Boyhood crept into the top 10, its $2.1 million intake bringing the indie to an impressive $13.8 million total. Sorry, Sly, but the young win again.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.