Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The terrapin power of Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is expected to win the weekend box office for the second time in a row, besting Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and newcomers “Let’s Be Cops” from Fox, Lionsgate’s “The Expendables 3” and Weinstein Co.’s “The Giver.”

The pizza-eating reptiles are estimated to top the box office with a gross in the mid-to-high $20 millions this weekend. Produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, the film was made for $125 million and thus far has grossed $117 worldwide.

Only three titles — Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” — have managed to win two weekends so far this summer.

Fox’s “Let’s Be Cops,” the raunchy R-rated comedy starring Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson and Nina Dobrev, has been performing solidly since its Wednesday debut, putting up $8.4 million through Thursday. It’s expected to gross roughly $16 million-$18 million in 3,094 locations through the weekend.

Although the star power of the action-heavy “The Expendables 3” outweighs “Let’s Be Cops” – the film features Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson – the drama is predicted to open at around the same numbers as the cop comedy.  “Expendables” should pull in between $16 million and $17 million, including $875,000 from Thursday. The first two “Expendables” opened at $34.8 million and $28.6 million, so this would be the worst performance of the three by as much as $10 million.

The Weinstein Co.’s “The Giver,” starring Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift and Jeff Bridges and based on the well-known Lois Lowry book, could be effective counter-programming for young women against the action-heavy “Turtles” and “Expendables.” It’s also opening wide in 3,003 locations and is expected to bring in $13 million for the weekend.

The $25 million adaptation did impressive business Thursday, picking up $750,000 in preview screenings.

Expected to land in second place is “Guardians,” Marvel’s newest property that introduces a band of misfits tasked with saving the galaxy, budgeted at $170 million. Starring Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, the film has globally grossed $334 million to date, with an estimated $21 million expected this weekend.

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