ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

Slump? What steenking box-office slump?

Thanks to strong performances from [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) and [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles](movie:323027), the box-office shook off a horrific July to set a new August record. Those two behemoths led moviegoers to theaters in at a record pace, resulting in a total of $1.02 billion—a whopping 10 percent above last August's all-time level.

Surprisingly, August wound up being the second biggest month of the Summer, ahead of May and July and a bit behind June. That's very unusual—August is typically the lowest-grossing month of the Summer by a large margin. Total domestic box office during the Summer was $4.06 billion, which is down 15 percent from last year and is the lowest total since 2006. Factoring in ticket price inflation, this was the worst Summer since 1992.

Maybe that's because there weren't enough offerings like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". For August—and for the year as a whole so far— "Guardians of the Galaxy" was the highest-grossing movie with over $275 million. Remember when "Guardians of the Galaxy" was considered a risky movie for Marvel to make? Seems a very long time ago - and absurd in hindsight.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" could wind up as Marvel Studios' highest-grossing, non-sequel solo film ever ahead of the first "Iron Man ($318.4 million domestically). Even if it doesn't make it there, it will almost certainly be the biggest August release ever ahead of 1999's "The Sixth Sense" ($293.5 million).

Opening a week after "Guardians of the Galaxy" wasn't much of a problem for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", which earned $162.6 million through the end of August.

That puts the Heroes-In-A-Half Shell's revitalized franchise a bit below Michael Bay's incredibly successful "Transformers" films, but still a big step up from fellow Paramount toy franchise "G.I. Joe".

Megan Fox and her four "pets" are on track for at least $185 million total, and a sequel is moving forward with a June 2016 release date.

"Let's Be Cops" finished way behind the two action/sci-fi behemoths with a still-surprising $57.4 million through its first 19 days. That's a fairly impressive tally for a low-budget comedy lacking any real film stars (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. are best-known for TV's New Girl).

Some July holdovers also performed well in August, Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" was easily the leader with $56.6 million. Despite mixed word-of-mouth, the movie still wound up holding well through the month, and has now earned more than Angelina Jolie's "Salt".

Believe it or not, "Into The Storm" rounded out the Top Five with $42 million. That's a so-so result for this tornado thriller, though its hard to imagine how it could have done much better against such steep competition.

The Hundred Foot Journey
The Hundred Foot Journey

A few other, smaller films also did better than expected in August. "The Hundred-Foot Journey" rebounded from a modest opening with excellent holds; through the end of the month, the Helen Mirren cooking drama has netted $39.6 million. Before the end of its run, it should tip over $50 million. Meanwhile, teen romance If I Stay took in $29.9 million in its first ten days, which is a solid result for a low-budget young-adult adaptation.

Of course, there were some small disappointments as well. "The Giver" is poised to do over $40 million, but was expected to do more, considering how popular the book is.

Of course, what has been getting the publicity recently has been the bombs that hit late in the month.

"The Expendables 3" earned just $33.2 million through its first 17 days, which is less than half of its predecessor's tally over the same period of time.

Meanwhile, the James Brown biopic "Get On Up" was thought to be another staedy, adult hit, especially with Chadwick Boseman headlining, yet crashed with just $29.6 million, while "Step Up All In" earned just $14.2 million (and will close with less than half as much as its predecessor).

The biggest bomb of August—and possibly the Summer as a whole—was "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For". It arrived in theaters over nine years after the original "Sin City", and apparently lost a lot of goodwill during that time: its $10.8 million 10-day gross is less than the first movie made in one day.


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