Box Office: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2’ Tops With $35.3 Million, ‘Popstar’ Flops

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of
Courtesy of Paramount

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” debuted to a disappointing $35.3 million over the weekend, becoming the latest sequel this year to fall short of expectations. The pizza-munching reptiles’ opening weekend was roughly half of the $65.6 million that its predecessor, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” kicked off to in 2014, illustrating that not all franchises are created equal.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a sequel slump of this caliber,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “These films aren’t as good as the first ones, and they’re suffering at the box office.”

Indeed, several film series have struggled to attract crowds in recent months, with “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” losing millions, and other sequels and spinoffs, such as “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” failing to match the grosses of previous installments. “Captain America: Civil War,” which plays more like an “Avengers” chapter given the presence of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man than a star-spangled follow-up, did beat the slump, going on to earn over $1.1 billion globally.

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Film Review: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’

Paramount spent $135 million on the latest “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and released the picture across 4,071 locations. It will look to foreign audiences to try to bolster the underwhelming domestic returns. So far, the situation overseas is more promising. The film opened in 40 international markets, including Russia, Mexico and the United Kingdom, earning $34 million. There are still several major territories left to open, the biggest being China on July 2.

Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore acknowledged that the studio hoped the domestic launch would be bigger, but said that the film could make up ground in the coming weeks. The second “Ninja Turtles” played younger, with 51% of the opening weekend crowd coming in under 25 years old as opposed to 45% for the first picture.

“The good news is younger movies tend to play at better multiples,” said Moore, predicting that, “the gap [between the films] will narrow as we play out.”

The return of the turtles was enough to knock “X-Men: Apocalypse” from the top spot on the stateside charts. The superhero sequel slid more than 65% in its second weekend to earn $22.3 million for a second place finish. The latest “X-Men” has earned $116.5 million since debuting over Memorial Day.

In third place, New Line and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer scored with the modestly budgeted “Me Before You.” The story of a caregiver (Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones”) who falls in love with a paralyzed millionaire (Sam Claflin) opened to a solid $18.3 million. Shot for just over $20 million and based on Jojo Moyes’ best-seller of the same name, “Me Before You” appealed heavily to women. Females comprised more than 80% of the opening weekend audience.

“This is typically a time of year filled with big summer, male-dominated action movies,” said Jeff Goldstein, a distribution executive vice president at New Line’s parent studio, Warner Bros. “We felt there was an opportunity to go after our core audience. There isn’t another female-skewing movie for weeks.”

The weekend’s other new release, the music parody “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” collapsed at the box office, scraping together $4.6 million from 2,311 locations. Universal spent $21 million on the mockumentary, which stars Andy Samberg as a Justin Bieber-like music prodigy and reunites the comedian with his Lonely Island partners. The musicians are best known for their work on “Saturday Night Live,” where they composed such viral favorites as “Dick in a Box” and “I’m on a Boat.” The studio believes that “Popstar” could develop a cult following on home entertainment platforms, much as “This Is Spinal Tap” was embraced on video, in its day.

“Films like this can have a long tail through the revenue chains,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution head. “The story’s not been told on ‘Popstar.'”

Rounding out the top five were Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” with $10.7 million and Sony’s “The Angry Birds Movie” with $9.8 million, pushing the family films’ grosses to $50.8 million and $86.7 million, respectively.

In milestone news, “Zootopia” became the second film this year to top $1 billion globally. The Disney animated hit is now the year’s second highest-grossing film, behind “Captain America: Civil War,” which the studio also released.

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  1. Haole says:

    My problem with Popstar: The brilliance of a mockumentary like “Best of Show” is that the oddballs that inhabit that strange dog show universe actually take themselves very seriously…they regard their pursuits as genuinely meaningful and important and noble. They’re not really in on the joke, so it’s all ripe for parody. In contrast, I think that confectionary pop performers, boy bands, etc, pretty much know (deep down…or not so deep down) that they are astonishingly lightweight and borderline silly, but they’re happy to go for the ride anyway. Spoofing them seems like a tail-chasing exercise in that they are pretty much spoofs to begin with. Even the targets of Spinal Tap…the “deep thinking” Tolkien-channeling metal guys, were earnest in some respect and valued their high art. Popstars like Beiber or Spice Girls are such fluff that letting the air out of them seems pointless being that they barely take themselves seriously.
    It would be like lampooning the comedian Ghallagar…what’s the purpose?

  2. Anon says:

    Yeah, Popstar was was pretty terrible… And I honestly think Judd Apatow is losing it… I mean, this one… That Ghostbusters disaster… That Love show… He used to write/produce the funniest stuff in the world… I mean, Heavy Weights, Superbad, etc… What happened to him??! From the way he’s calling everyone an idiot for not being a fan of the new Ghostbusters (one of the worst trailer I’ve seen in my life–and that’s coming from a girl!), I honestly think this is all because he’s just become super arrogant. It’s like everyone called him a genius and now he actually believes that everything that comes out of his mouth is a gift from God… Not good… The best comedy tends to be humble and sweet. Hence, Judd, if you’re reading this. I’m a fan. But the truth is that I’m a fan of thousand of other people too. Every person on earth is a genius sometimes and a moron sometimes. Get over yourself. For your own sake.

    P.S. To Judd: Since you’re obviously losing it and seem in denial about it as the whole Ghostbusters situation has brought to light… As I said before, the best comedy tends to be humble and sweet. And there’s nothing that seems sweet about the Ghostbusters trailer. It’s just crude and weird… And that’s not the fault of the actresses. Stop trying to shove the blame onto them. Because this mess is completely on you and your writer. (Those poor actresses were just reciting Paul Feig’s deadweight words!) But in the same way as Ghostbusters, there is nothing sweet about popstar. It was just, once again, annoying, obnoxious, and crude. And before someone says Superbad was crude. Yeah it was. But the foundation it sat upon–the heart of the film/storyline–was so sweet and adorable. That’s why it worked. The crudeness didn’t actually bring anything to the story other than get it that R rating–which frankly, the movie would’ve defeinitely made even more money without. But the thing is that, lately, it’s like you forgot about the importance of the sweet element of comedy and are becoming more and more depended on crudeness. But in a day and age where everybody’s trying to be cruder and cruder, that whole shock value (re: that mostly nervous laughter) you’re going for has been exploited to death and is no longer shocking. I mean, the only thing more shocking would be showing actual porn. (Which, I pray to God, you never do!! Enough is enough..) But anyways, it’s watching your old films that made me realize the importance of what I wrote above. So I hope you read this. And stop destroying your company/reputation… Because it’s really sad–and sort of embarrassing–to watch…

  3. Emma says:

    Movie industry has no ideas. TV series with great actors are the real deal.

  4. I think the SNL machine has proven that its just a rust bucket these days, with repeated flops from it’s alums who seem to think they’re a lot funnier than they are.

  5. Rudy Mario says:

    Saw Popstar and enjoyed it. Found it funny for the most part. Moview was short but the never ending trailers one after the other gave me an headache. They were all bad and for sure I doubt I will be seeing anyone of them. Even the new Star Trek looks jaded.

  6. Fred Mertz Jr. says:

    A lot of films nobody wanted to see. Describe them in two sentences and listen to yourself. Would you really get out of the house, drive to the theater, pay for parking and plunk down fifteen dollars for any of them? Don’t shoot the audience, shoot the people who thought these were sure fire hits and the execs who just pushed through the obligatory sequel. That doesn’t work anymore. You gotta put out if you wanna get it back.

  7. Chris says:

    Weak summer so far. A lot of flops and disappointments at the box office.

  8. Hollywood is only about the money and nothing else

  9. John says:

    What an awful assortment of films for the summer. Must be one of the worst in a long time.

  10. Burro b says:

    Really ? People thought pop star was gonna be good ? Tmnt? Joke.

  11. Popstar is a well done satire that nobody is going to watch. I get that it has a message but for some reason it simply did not move me. I just watched it in a theater with 2, count ’em 2, other patrons.

  12. EricJ says:

    Every time I heard anyone buzz about Popstar, I thought “Andy Samberg? Where have I heard that name?…Oh, right, that was back when they tried to spin off his SNL cult in ‘Hot Dog'”. That one didn’t quite catch on either.
    And it’s not a “Sequel slump”, you have to take it on a case-by-case basis: The X-Men franchise needs to either wrap up or change directors, Huntsman and Disney’s Alice were “Never greenlight on Monday morning”, audiences still hold a grudge against Turtles 2 for being a Michael Bay production (even though it’s not so bad), and as for Neighbors 2….has there EVER been a hit guy-comedy sequel? As in, ever? In recorded history??

  13. Skyler DeWitt says:

    Maybe if something original came out that wasn’t a sequel, prequel, or remake, it might do better??? I think everyone’s tired of the same old, same old.

    • Me smart, You mildly smart says:

      Yet a movie like the Nice Guys is bombing, so the lack of originality isn’t the problem, quality is the problem.

  14. Bill B. says:

    When you make a lot of crap, why would people flock to see them?! Stupid comment, I guess. The public flocks to a lot of crap anyway. I guess this week’s bunch is just a bit crappier than normal for this time of the year.

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