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"TMNT" Powers Past "Guardians" Despite Poor Reviews

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" nabs the top box office spot for the second weekend in a row. How is it doing so well with such poor reviews?
Posted at 8:30 PM, Aug 17, 2014

Despite poor reviews, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" snuck past fellow sci-fi flick "Guardians of the Galaxy" to nab the top spot at the box office for the second weekend in a row.

Michael Bay's animation-heavy "Ninja Turtles" reboot pulled in $28.4 million over the weekend which lifted its total U.S. ticket sales past $117 million. 

"Guardians of the Galaxy,"meanwhile, finished strong with $24.7 million, pushing its total three-week haul to $222 million domestically.

The "Ninja Turtles" two-week reign comes despite the blockbuster getting blasted from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and receiving mixed audience reviews.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" continual dominance makes sense. It's flashy, it's action-packed, it's, well, Marvel. And, it's also receiving great reviews. So how is "Ninja Turtles" managing to hang on to the top spot?

A writer for Rolling Stone says TMNT has been a cash cow for decades, and this is only the latest iteration of it.

Ever since the original 80's cartoon, built with a toy-selling "recipe for success shared by He-Man, G.I. Joe, and the Transformers," the turtles have been specifically designed for "capturing the hearts, minds, and allowances of yet another generation."

Couple that with a healthy dose of nostalgia from '80s kids, and there you go.

A Forbes film critic has a much different outlook. He says TMNT's "less is more" marketing campaign provided just the right amount of tease.

He points out Paramount held off releasing its trailer while other summer blockbusters like "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and "Godzilla" flooded the market. 

Then, as another Paramount film, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" hit the big screen for a $100 million weekend debut, they brought the "Turtles" trailer out of its shell. The effect: Leonardo, Donatello and the gang were teased in front of a much larger audience.

"Expendables 3" was perhaps the weekend's biggest surprise, slipping to fourth behind the comedy "Let's Be Cops." The cast filled with aging action stars left theater seats unfilled, pulling in a sluggish $16.2 million — easily the worst debut of its three films.