The summer movie season officially ended this past weekend as it usually does, with a crop of newcomers doing middling business and some early-August holdovers doing quite well. The unusual aspect of this weekend was twofold, and of course involved the late summer runaway hit Guardians of the Galaxy. After two weekends of coming up second to the latest outing of the Ninja Turtles, Guardians moved back up to first place this weekend, with a fourth week of $17.6 million. As of Sunday, it had made $251.8 million overall, edging past Transformers 4′s $243 million to become the highest grossing movie of the summer, and it’s likely that within the next week, it will pass Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s $259.8 million and become the highest grossing movie of the year. Not bad at all. And Ninja Turtles had a second place finish of $16.8 million and $145 million overall, which puts it in the top 15 highest grossers of the year .
Among the new releases, the biggest earner was the Chloe Grace Moretz YA-themed movie If I Stay, which rode an audience that was 77 percent female and 61 percent under 25 to a third place finish and $16.3 million, well ahead of its $11 million budget. As was the case with Endless Love, The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent, it’s likely to be a fairly front-loaded movie, but shows that kids with life-threatening illnesses or whatever can still pack in the teenagers. In fifth place with $9 million was the football drama When The Game Stands Tall, which benefitted from Christian themes and the presence of Jesus himself, but suffered from the low grosses that many of this year’s sport movies have fallen prey to. And the big bomb of the weekend was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the nine-years-later sequel that missed the boat on capturing the audience for the original film and distinguishing itself from the dozens of similar films released in its wake. It opened in eighth place with $6.48 million, down 78 percent from the opening weekend of the first movie, and marks the third lowest opening weekend of Robert Rodriguez’s career (the last of which was last year’s Machete Kills, suggesting Rodriguez should cut out the sequels).
On the indie side, the Ira Sachs dramedy Love is Strange opened with $127,000 and a $25,400 average in five theaters, though it’s unlikely to have a huge expansion.
Next week brings Labor Day, one of the lowest movie attendance weekends of the year, and the movies to match: the horror movie As Above So Below and the Pierce Brosnan “I’m not playing James Bond” thriller The November Man.