Shell shock sends '300' to second place

Over a weekend that one studio exec dubbed “a car crash” at the multiplexes — as six new major movies careened into theaters — CG-animated “TMNT,” the latest installment in the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise, came out on top.

The fourth pic in the Turtles saga, from Warner Bros. and the Weinstein Co., debuted to $25.45 million in the U.S. and Canada. It was one of three PG-rated movies to roll out over the latest frame.

Pic managed to displace Warners’ own “300” from the top of the heap; the dark, R-rated action epic fell to No. 2 in its third frame.

“TMNT” took a sharp bite out of other new releases — Paramount’s Mark Wahlberg actioner “Shooter,” New Line’s fantasy pic “The Last Mimzy” and Sony’s Adam Sandler drama “Reign Over Me” — as it unexpectedly reeled in adults that had grown up on the franchise for solid nighttime biz.

“It soaked up a lot of business, and more than anyone expected,” said a distribution exec at a rival studio of the Turtles pic. “They did business late at night, and in ethnic markets, so this was a movie that wasn’t just for kids.”

Overall B.O. jumped appreciably, as the top 10 combined for $120.5 million, up from $100.7 million a week ago. Top 10 over the same frame last year accounted for just $95 million, with Universal’s “Inside Man” topping the charts then.

While it dropped to No. 2, “300’s” ticket sales dipped just 38% from the previous frame; cume is $162.3 million after three weekends in theaters.

Disney’s “Wild Hogs,” in its fourth frame, was another solid holdover, barely missing the No. 3 slot as ticket sales slipped just 25% from the previous frame. Cume is $123.8 million.

The R-rated “Shooter” barely edged out “Hogs,” landing in third place by about $139,000 over the weekend, according to studio estimates. Pic, which stars Wahlberg and Danny Glover, debuted to $14.5 million at 2,806, averaging $5,168 per theater.

New Line’s kidlit adaptation “The Last Mimzy” — which, like “TMNT,” was gunning for the family crowd with a PG rating — bowed to $10.2 million from 3,017. Pic was helmed by studio co-topper Bob Shaye and was likely dented in its bow by “TMNT’s” surprise surge.

Further down the charts, Sony’s “Reign Over Me,” an R-rated drama with Adam Sandler in a serious role, bowed at No. 8, taking in just $8 million from 1,671 for a per-theater average of $4,788.

Movie’s perf was way off from Sandler’s usual comedic efforts. His last, “Click,” opened to $40 million for Sony last summer. “Reign,” a limited rollout as compared with Sandler’s broader pics, was more in line with his past dramatic vehicles. His 2004 film “Spanglish” opened to $8.8 million in 2004, and the more experimental “Punch Drunk Love” bowed to $4 million when it debuted in 2002.

Auds haven’t exactly been turning out in droves this year to see comedians in serious fare; Jim Carrey starrer “The Number 23″ also failed to generate big digits.

Yet another opener, Fox’s horror sequel “The Hills Have Eyes 2,” slashed an even $10 million in its debut to land in seventh place. Pic was off from the previous installment’s opening of $15.7 million just a year ago. Sequel was modestly budgeted at around $15 million.

Rounding out the new wide releases, Lionsgate sports drama “Pride” wasn’t able to get much traction in its first frame. Movie, about an urban swimming squad, floated to $4 million from 1,518 for a per-theater average of $2,635.

With so many new releases butting heads in theaters, other pics were sent sliding off the charts.

Fox Searchlight’s Chris Rock comedy “I Think I Love My Wife” sagged 51%, heading out of the top 10 and taking in $2.7 million in its second frame; two-week cume is $10.4 million.

Par serial-killer pic “Zodiac” dipped nearly 63%, taking in $1.2 million in its fourth frame. The film is winding down its run at just 862 in its most recent sesh.

Among holdovers, Sony’s “Premonition” remained in the top 10 at No. 6. Cume is now $32.1 million after its soph sesh.

Universal’s “Dead Silence” rounded out the top 10. Cume is $13.2 million in two frames.

With the success of the Turtles pic, TWC’s Harvey Weinstein said the company is pursuing another Turtles sequel, and Warners’ distribution honcho Dan Fellman confirmed that was indeed the plan for the green guys.

“TMNT” tally was roughly the same racked up in its opening by the first pic in the series, 1990’s live-action “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” which spun to $25.4 million. Including the latest pic’s bow, franchise overall has taken in more than $300 million domestically.

Frame was the first in which Warners held the Nos. 1 and 2 positions on the charts since 2001. Last studio to accomplish that feat was Sony in 2005.

Some pics in more limited release were also pulled along by this year’s bulging B.O. Fox Searchlight’s “The Namesake” continued its healthy perf in theaters, taking in $1.3 million more from 117 for a per-location average of $11,581 in its third frame.

Pic has cumed $2.68 million and is running ahead of director Mira Nair’s indie breakout “Monsoon Wedding.”

Sony Classics’ “Offside” bowed to $19,051 off five for a per-theater average of $3,810.

There could be some position changes on the charts today: Estimates showed “Mimzy,” “Premonition” and “Eyes 2″ apart by just $200,000.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more