Turtle Power! ‘300’ Loses Box-Office Battle To ‘TMNT’

Two-time champ '300' slips to #2; 'Shooter,' 'The Last Mimzy' debut in top five.

The Top Five

#1 “TMNT” ($25.4 million)
#2 “300” ($20.5 million)
#3 “Shooter” ($14.5 million)
#4 “Wild Hogs” ($14.4 million)
#5 “The Last Mimzy” ($10.2 million)

Audiences turned from one CGI-dominated spectacle to another this weekend as the famed quartet of turtles that power “TMNT” overtook the Spartan soldiers of “300,” earning an impressive $25.4 million, good enough for first place at the box office. Fourteen years away from the big screen did little to dampen audience enthusiasm for the cult fighting team who first came to prominence in a much darker comic book version. This softer adaptation of the turtles — much like the ’90s film incarnation — probably helped broaden the audience to score its strong first-place showing.

On the other hand, the hard R-rating that “300” earned every inch of has done little to limit the box-office impact of this juggernaut. Despite falling to second place in its third weekend, the bloody romp still earned $20.5 million, taking its stellar gross to $162 million. Just as impressive in its staying power is “Wild Hogs,” which fell only 24 percent in its fourth week in theaters. Its fourth-place finish of $14.4 million brings its impressive take to over $123 million.

Much of the rest of the top 10 was dominated by a newcomers, most of which had to be disappointed by their earnings. Mark Wahlberg’s action flick “Shooter” managed a marginally respectable $14.5 million, good enough for third place, while the “E.T.” wannabe “The Last Mimzy” took in $10.5 million to land in fifth place.

Three other new releases couldn’t even manage to crack the top five. “The Hills Have Eyes II” took in $10 million, which seems to ensure that the third installment is destined solely for the small screen. Adam Sandler’s dramatic turn in “Reign Over Me” did little to rival his comic work at the box office, earning only $8 million. And last — and sadly for Terrence Howard, least — was “Pride,” which eked out only $4 million in its opening lap (it’s about swimming, get it?).

How’d We Do?

Celebrity guest prognosticator “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had the right idea when he predicted a Turtle-dominated weekend at the box office (see “Projection Booth: Can Ninja Turtles Stop Spartans’ Slaughter?” ). But his ginormous $50 million prediction was nearly double the flick’s actual take, ensuring a win for this writer — despite overestimating the haul by $10 million myself. Meanwhile, MTV News writer Larry Carroll stayed with “300” for one weekend too many — and now he’ll have to wait at least another week before winning another Projection Booth crown.

Prognosticator (Weeks Won)
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (13)
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (7)
Celebrity guest (2)

In Perspective

It’s nearly 17 years to the day that the original film was released and it’s déjà vu all over again for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans. Opening to nearly identical numbers, the new incarnation of the famed comic book series seems to have launched a new profitable era for the pizza loving crime-fighters. As you will see from the numbers below (figures indicate opening weekend grosses) everything seems to have come full circle for the unlikely superhero franchise.

· “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990) — $25.4 million
· “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” (1991) — $20 million
· “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” (1993) — $12.4 million
· “TMNT” (2007) –$25.4 million

Next Week

The latest inspirational sports flick, “Pride,” may have just flopped at the box office, but it didn’t feature a scene where a mascot is aflame. That’s just one of the things going for “Blades of Glory.” Most importantly this figure-skating comedy (you read that correctly) features Will Ferrell in a starring role which means expectations couldn’t be higher — especially coming off last years’ similarly themed sports spoof, “Talladega Nights.” This time Ferrell’s traded in everyman actor John C. Reilly for Napoleon Dynamite himself, Jon Heder.

If your eyes have recovered from seeing “300” in IMAX (where it broke box-office records) you might want to get your ticket for a much different bit of sensory overload. Coming to theaters this week is Disney’s new computer-animated flick, “Meet the Robinsons.” The eye popping visuals of this future-set family flick should be a treat — especially if you’re able to catch it in 3D as its being shown in many theaters.

Check out everything we’ve got on “TMNT,” “300,” and “Shooter”.

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