Turtle power wins the weekend

TMNT rules a crowded US box office

It’s the sort of car-smash release schedule the studios usually try to avoid, but no less than six wide-release films arrived this weekend in the States.

And reigning champ 300 finally found itself knocked from the top after two weeks. But studio Warners won’t exactly be worried – as they’ve simply replaced one film that has its roots in a graphic novel with, um, another one.

Admittedly TMNT – or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to those of us who don’t always need to speak in acronym – is aimed at a slightly different audience than the buff, bloody Spartan epic, but it overcame some extremely dodgy reviews to appeal to both kids and the long-term Turtles fans that were itching for another dose of shell shock. The four crime-fighting amphibians nabbed $24.4 million this weekend. Which likely means a sequel will be on the way, particularly given that it only cost $40 million to make…

300 was still bringing the hordes in, however, losing just 36% to make $20.5 million and storming across the international markets. It’s now taken in more than $160 million in the US alone.

Arriving in third place, Mark Wahlberg’s new thriller Shooter didn’t exactly make it to the top with a bullet, but a $14.5 million opening is solid given the crowded marketplace. That put it just ahead of Wild Hogs, with the comedy dropping to fourth having earned $14.3 million.

In fifth, we find TMNT’s main competition for kiddie business, with New Line’s The Last Mimzy. Another arrival weighed down by bad reviews, it suffered in comparison to the Turtles and could only rustle up $10.2 million in business. That was still better than returning thriller Premonition, which sank from third to sixth in its second week, with $10.1 million and $32 million so far.

Audiences clearly weren’t all that excited about another round with the hungry mutants of The Hills Have Eyes, as the sequel debuted to about half the original remake’s score, making $10 million. But that still arrived higher in the charts than Adam Sandler’s latest attempt at drama with Mike Binder’s look at loss and living with grief in Reign Over Me. The movie opened at eighth with $8 million.

Finally, wrapping up the charts, we have a faltering new arrival and a quick-sinking horror. Terrence Howard’s inspirational swimming coach drama Pride failed to inspire much interest, diving in at ninth with $4 million, while creepy puppet horror Dead Silence found itself dead in the water for its second week, dropping quickly to 10th and nabbing just $3.4 million.