Perhaps as a sign this summer couldn’t be over soon enough for Hollywood, the top three positions at the box office for the weekend were exactly the same as last week: “Guardians of the Galaxy” continued its surprising run with an estimated three-day draw of $16.3 million, and with a cumulative total of $274.6 million in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, the film became the top box-office draw not only of the summer but of the year so far, passing “Captain America: The Winter Solider.”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” continued its surprising showing as well, bringing in an estimated $11.8 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative total of $162.4 million.
In its second weekend of release, the teen romantic drama “If I Stay” brought in an estimated $9.3 million for a new total of $29.8 million.
The best new opener of the weekend was the low-budget horror thriller “As Above, So Below” in the fourth spot, bringing in an estimated $8.3 million. In its third week, “Let’s Be Cops” came in fifth with an estimated $8.2 million for a new total of $57.3 million. “The November Man,” an espionage thriller starring Pierce Brosnan, opened in sixth place with an estimated three-day total of $7.7 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were “When the Game Stands Tall,” brining in an estimated $5.6 million for the weekend and raising its total to $16.3 million; “The Giver,” with an estimated $5.2 million for a new total of $39.4 million; and “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with an estimated $4.6 million for a new total of $39.4 million. “The Expendables 3” came in 10th place with $3.5 million for a total of $33.1 million.
More estimates for the Labor Day holiday will be in Monday, but the summer box office looks to come in just above $4 billion, down some 15% from $4.75 billion in the summer of 2013.
“The summer of 2014 was confounding, it was exasperating, and it was a transition between one record summer in 2013 and what everyone believes will be a record summer in 2015,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.
However, thanks to a strong spring, the total box office for the year so far stands at $7.2 billion, off only about 5% from last year. And with potential successes such as the latest “Hunger Games” and “Hobbit” films along with Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated “Interstellar” all still to come, 2014 could still turn itself around.
“This summer was just never predestined to be a record breaker,” Dergarabedian said. “And there were so many unquantifiable things. The World Cup may have had an effect as a distraction. The Fourth of July fell on a Friday, which no one in Hollywood wants.
"But no one is saying, is this the end of going to the movies. Because we all know it's not."
Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocus