Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Stringer Bell can open a movie

First, the bad news: No Good Deed went unpunished this weekend, with America spending $24.5 million of its disposable income on the widely panned thriller. Given the glut of alternative multiplex options—and the fact that the only other new wide-release movie starred a dolphin—it’s hardly surprising (though still disappointing) that this solid sum was enough to land the film at the top of the box-office charts. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that its decent debut should give a career boost to star Idris Elba. The former Stringer Bell deserves better Hollywood gigs than stalking Taraji P. Henson around a house for 80-some minutes. And now that the actor has proven he can open a movie—at least, in the relatively uncompetitive arena of early September—maybe he’ll be offered more opportunities to actually, you know, act. That is, after he gets through making the inevitable No Bad Deeds.

But speaking of that dolphin movie: The makers of family-franchise hopeful Dolphin Tale 2 have apparently overestimated the desire of their target demographic to reunite with a plucky, prosthetic-tailed SeaWorld attraction. The sequel grossed $16.5 million—not nothing, but also a good $7 million less than what its predecessor debuted to three years ago, around the same weekend. Perhaps young fans of the original have just gotten too old for such earnest fun, having graduated to the snarkier adolescent pleasures of, say, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, two August hits that continue to hang in there. Guardians ($8 million) fell from first to third place this weekend, but also managed to cross the $300 million mark—a first in 2014, unless one counts 2013 holdover Frozen. Turtles ($4.8 million), on the other hand, continues to defy the will of film critics and disappointed millennials alike, foretelling a full-blown revival of the heroes-on-a-half-shell brand. Too bad the dolphin of Dolphin Tale isn’t CGI and doesn’t sexually harass its female costars.

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Like Turtles, Let’s Be Cops ($4.3 million) continues to draw new audiences, despite its (COUGH too harsh COUGH) reviews. The buddy comedy edged out the Tom Hardy/James Gandolfini vehicle The Drop, which made $4.2 million on just 809 screens. That’s good, though not as good as the $411,000 The Skeleton Twins grossed on only 15 screens; it’s being called the best limited release opening since Boyhood. Moviegoers showed a bit less interest in some other new indies, including The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby ($77,200), The Green Prince ($38,000), Bird People ($8,100), and the fantastic Stray Dogs, whose earnings are presumably too modest to even be reported by Box Office Mojo. Finally, Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?, the third in an improbably continuing six-film series, grossed a sad $355,000 on 242 screens. Call that a victory for free minds and the free market.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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