'Turtles' beats 'Guardians' at box office
Forecasters had predicted a tight race between the two films.
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK - The return of the _ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles_ earned $65 million in ticket sales at US and Canadian movie theatres over the weekend, easily winning a box office battle with Marvel's outer space hit _ Guardians of the Galaxy_.
Ninja Turtles, a reboot of a franchise born in 1980's comic books and popularised in TV cartoons, rang up another $28.7 million in international markets for a global debut of $93.7 million, according to distributor Paramount Pictures which wasted no time in announcing a sequel, set to open 3 June, 2016.
Guardians, which ruled the box office universe a week ago with a record opening for August, collected $41.5 million during its second weekend, according to estimates from research firm Rentrak. New tornado-chasing thriller _ Into the Storm_ landed in the No. 3 slot with $18 million.
Forecasters had predicted a tight race between Guardians and Ninja Turtles. But the hard-shelled reptile heroes, brought back to TV on a Nickelodeon show in 2012, crushed expectations for a domestic total of around $40 million.
Megan Fox stars in the film as a reporter who becomes a close ally of the four pizza-loving turtles who emerge from the sewer to fight criminals in New York City. The movie cost $125 million to make.
"This exceeded all our expectations," said Megan Colligan, head of domestic marketing and distribution at Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc as is Nickelodeon Movies, which together released the film.
"Families came out in a very big way, while teenagers were drawn to the film's incredible action sequences," said Colligan.
Global sales for Guardians reached $313 million, distributor Walt Disney Co said. The film stars Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana as galactic warriors who lead a rag-tag band of heroes including a talking raccoon and a human-like tree.
While Turtles and Guardians have provided a late boost to summer ticket sales, the season remains 16.5 percent behind last year's record pace with a total of $3.465 billion since 2 May, against $4.15 billion for the same period a year ago, according to Rentrak.
The weekend's No. 3 film, Into the Storm, takes place in a fictional Midwest town hit by the strongest tornadoes ever seen. The movie cost $50 million to make.
Food romance The Hundred-Foot Journey debuted with $11.1 million at domestic theatres, finishing fourth. The movie stars Helen Mirren as a French restaurateur who feuds with the Indian family that takes over the defunct restaurant across the street.
Hundred-Foot Journey was produced by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films and Participant Media. Disney distributed the film.
New music drama Step Up All In, about an epic dance contest in Las Vegas, earned $6.6 million at North American (US and Canadian) theatres over the weekend, taking sixth place. The movie was released by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.