Though the overall box office has been way down, Summer 2014 could at least brag about the fact that there had been no pricey box office bombs. Then August came along, the box office picked up, but now we have two pricey bombs: “Expendables 3” and “Sin City 2.”
With a $125 million budget, per the accepted formula, “Expendables 3” will have to gross at least twice that just to break even. In just two weeks, the Sylvester Stallone actioner is dead — murdered by a brutal 66% second-week drop after a brutally disappointing debut. By Monday the certified flop will sit at only $27 million domestic. Overseas grosses have so far added another $22 million to the till.
This is too bad. Part 3 was by far the franchise best. Although it was a hit, the stinkaroo that was two left no one wanting more.
Deadline pins the “Sin City 2” budget at $60 top $70 million. The sequel, which I also found superior to its predecessor, is a four-alarm box office disaster. Low-end predictions suggested a $15 million opening, or thereabouts; the reality is a total thud at $6 to $7 million. A mere 36 hours ago, anyone who would have predicted such a thing would have been called insane.
Waiting 9 years to produce a sequel is never a good idea. Still, the original has a devoted following. People remember and like the film. I’m at a loss to explain this kind of rejection. I can tell you that it was just me and one other guy at my Thursday night screening — and no, we weren’t together. I did sit right next to him, though, because I feed on awkward.
Also under-performing is the dreadful “If I Stay,” which was aimed directly at the girly crowd that opened “The Fault In Our Stars” to $48 million in June and an eventual gross north of $124 million. Lightning has not struck twice. “Stay” disappointed in a big way with meager $16 million, third place debut.
Reclaiming the top spot from the “Turtles” is “Guardians of the Galaxy” which is showing some serious staying power. In week 4, another $17 million will bring the total to $252 million. The magic $300 million isn’t going to happen but of every film so far released this year, a movie starring a wise-cracking raccoon will come the closest.
Also showing surprising strength are the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” This weekend’s haul of $16 million will mean a total of $145 million after just three weeks.
Tying at 4th and striving for $10 million are “Let’s Be Cops” in its 2nd week and “When the Game Stands Tall” in its debut.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC