Moviegoers have been racing to Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” propelling the wisecracking terrapins to an opening weekend as high as $60 million at the U.S. box office, although Paramount is tempering expectations with a $50 to $55 million prediction.
Friday afternoon forecasts placed “Turtles” well ahead of the second weekend of Marvel-Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which looked likely to finish the frame between $41 and $46 million.
“Turtles” started strongly Friday with initial estimates in the $19 to $25 million range — including $4.6 million in late-night screenings Thursday at 2,651 locations.
Paramount has promoted the pizza-eating reptiles aggressively, drawing on the appeal of the previous films, TV shows and toy lines. The studio’s most recent projections had placed the “Turtles” in the low-$40 million range, but the first-day business sends a strong signal that the film has more traction than forecasters expected.
The rebooted “Turtles,” produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and starring Megan Fox, carries a $125 million price tag. It appears that the new film will outgross the entire domestic cume of $42.3 million for 1993’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III,” the most recent terrapin tale.
“Guardians” had been expected to offer significant competition after a spectacular $94.3 million debut last weekend, along with impressive weekday numbers that lifted the first week total past $134 million.
Friday estimates ranged from $12 to $14 million, putting “Guardians” on track to finish the weekend with a decline in the 51 to 56% range.
Only three titles — Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and Fox’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” — have managed to win two weekends this summer.
Warner Bros.’ weather-disaster title “Into the Storm” appeared to be generating respectable first-day business with $6 million on Friday, projecting to an opening in the $16.5 million range. “Storm” drew an estimated $800,000 in Thursday previews.
Moviegoers showed a moderate appetite for Disney-DreamWorks’ chef comedy “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with $4 million on Friday, projecting to an opening weekend of about $12.2 million.
Summit’s “Step Up All In,” the fifth installment in the dance competition franchise, appeared to be running out of steam with a $3 million opening on Friday — projecting to a $7.2 million weekend.
Universal’s third weekend of “Lucy” looks likely to finish ahead of “All In” at about $8.3 million — which would lift the Scarlett Johansson vehicle past $96 million in 17 days.