‘TMNT,’ ‘Meg 2’ Competing with ‘Oppenheimer’ for Second as ‘Barbie’ Reign Continues at the Box Office

Even though it’s the middle of August, the summer box office season hasn’t exactly looked stronger recently. Though the openings of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” and “Meg 2: The Trench” won’t be able to take down “Barbie” as the top performer in North America, both new releases are boosting theaters to a weekend with four different features grossing north of $25 million.

“Mutant Mayhem” from Paramount Pictures made an additional $9.3 million from 3,858 locations on Friday, tying “Oppenheimer” for second place on the US charts. The animated film, which was created by Nickelodeon Movies and Point Grey Productions, debuted on Tuesday with preview screenings and is currently on track to earn $42 million in its first five days, which is well in line with estimates of $35 million to $45 million.

That’s not bad for the “TMNT” entry, whose production only cost $70 million, which is particularly inexpensive for an animated studio movie. With a new take on the 1980s concept and a successful play on nostalgia, Paramount has been able to capitalize on the excitement. The weekend gained pace thanks to the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes’ 90% approval rating from top critics, and the dazzling “A” grade from research company Cinema Score reveals that early moviegoers are enjoying the most recent exploits of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. “Mutant Mayhem” could see some consistent play as the summer comes to a close.

Jackie Chan, Ayo Edebiri, Post Malone, Paul Rudd, Rose Byrne, John Cena, Ice Cube, and Seth Rogen are among the celebrities who voice characters in the newest “TMNT” film. Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, and Brady Noon are a group of young actors who voice the Turtle Brothers, emphasizing the first “T” in “TMNT.” The director is Jeff Rowe.

The opening day box office for “Meg 2: The Trench” was $12 million from 3,503 theaters, which includes $3.2 million from Thursday previews. The Warner Bros. film’s ravenous follow-up is still on target for an opening weekend with a $30 million cap. That lags well behind the 2018 original, in which Jason Statham commanded a team of scientists in their battle with two enormous sharks. In its domestic debut, “The Meg” brought in $45 million. It went on to gross $145 million in North America and $530 million globally.

Like its predecessor, “The Trench,” in which Jason Statham leads a group of scientists against larger sharks, it will look to international territories as its main course to replenish a $129 million budget in production. Notably, the sequel added Wu Jing to its cast, a huge star in China who anchored local mega-hits like “The Battle at Changjin Lake,” “Wolf Warrior,” and “The Wandering Earth .” In fact, although Wu’s character died in the first “Wandering Earth” entry, its sequel was conceived as a prequel for the actor to return to the starring role.

Not that the first “Meg” was a heavy awards season, but “The Trench” did not fare well with critics (33% of top critics on Rotten Tomatoes). Audiences also seem calmer about the sequel, which earned a “B” Cinema Score, down from the “B+” earned by the first entry. The consensus view is that the franchise may jump to… well… but a fantastic reception is marked by a bit of a marketing turnoff, to be fair.

In “Meg 2: The Trench,” Statham and Wu team up with Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Skyler Samuels, Cliff Curtis and Sienna Guillory to kill not one, not two, but three prehistoric sharks, including many other sea creatures. Surprisingly, the feature film is based on a novel, “The Trench” by Steve Alten, and directed by “Kill List” and “High-Rise” director Ben Wheatley, who made the film’s big budget. .

Neither the sharks nor the turtles could beat “Barbie,” however, which added $17 million on Friday, down just 41% from last weekend. The release of Warner Bros. has been a dominant force ever since it marked the biggest opening of the year and shows absolutely no sign of stopping. The pink comedy is likely to cross $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales in the next day or two.

Still the top ticket domestically, “Barbie” should top $450 million in domestic grosses through Sunday, putting it right behind “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($574 million) to top the box office North American. higher income. of the year.

It was a close call for “Oppenheimer,” which ultimately had to give up second place on the national charts to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” or “Meg 2: The Trench.” Then again, maybe not. The Christopher Nolan feature is forecasting $28.7 million for the weekend, which would be an impressive 39% less than his previous outing.

The sweeping biopic has crossed $200 million in North America and looks set to continue playing well through August as it extends its run in Imax theaters. It’s a terrible performance for a film so sad and talky, it’s in Nolan’s top four domestic grossing after just two weeks of its release.

The floor fell under Disney’s “Haunted Mansion,” which earned $2.6 million in its second Friday, down 73% from its debut. The funhouse family feature should lead to a $40 million domestic gross on Saturday, not exactly the desired return for a film with a $150 million production budget. With so much competition for the public’s attention, “Haunted Mansion” may be in an early grave.

In particular, the unlikely summer hit “Sound of Freedom” continues to do well in its sixth weekend of release. Competitors estimate the child-sex-trafficking feature will drop just 39% this weekend, boosting its domestic take to $164 million, enough to top “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” ($156 million) for be one of the top 10 highest earners. majors in the North. American Releases of the Year.

The Angel Studios release created a huge stir among the audience at the box office. After the thriller’s credits, star Jim Caviezel appeared on screen to address the audience directly, saying “we can make the ‘Sound of Freedom’ the ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ of 21st-century slavery.” and features a QR code that directs viewers to the distributor’s unconventional “Pay It Forward” system, which allows users to donate money to Angel Studios so it can buy tickets to its own films and distribute them to those requesting free admission. The company promotes the initiative as a tool to raise awareness about its issue.

It’s unclear how much the show boosted the box office fortunes of “Sound of Freedom,” but religious and conservative media groups rallied behind the feature and a superlative “A+” Cinema Score indicates that viewers its definitely excited about it. . And yet, “Pay It Forward” ticket sales still put money in exhibitors’ pockets, whether people show up or not.

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