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'Guardians' returns to #1, while 'Sin City' is 'Kill'ed

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Try as they may, there just doesn't seem to be anything that can take down the champions.

In its fourth week in release, Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy managed to rise to the top of the box office charts yet again this weekend, earning another $17.2 million to its stellar total. With a new domestic total of $251.5 million, surpassing Transformers: Age of Extinction as this Summer's top-grossing film, Guardians will have no problem at all passing fellow Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259.8 million) by Friday. In fact, Guardians has a legitimate shot at meeting or beating Iron Man 2's $312.4 million domestic total, as it's only tracking behind the original Iron Man by less than $1.2 million.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles settled for second place this weekend with $16.7 million. However, given its continued mix word-of-mouth and unimpressive critical response, this is still a great third-week outing for the maligned franchise reboot. The film's total currently stands at $145.5 million, and, with a worldwide gross of $238.7 million, is almost as much all all three original live-action films made combined.

If I Stay, the first of the new films to bow this weekend, took third place this weekend with $15.7. This is higher than The Giver made last weekend, and also higher than teen-oriented drama Charlie St. Cloud earned in a more prime July opening. While it's still nowhere close to where The Fault In Our Stars opened to earlier this year ($48 million), it's hard to say this was a total disappointment either. With a relative micro-budget of $11 million, Stay has already earned its production back domestically, and anything after that is pretty much pure profit. On the other hand, teen-oriented films like this (especially ones based on books) tend to have precipitous drops in their second weeks, and Stay doesn't have much to drop from currently. Even with good word-of-mouth, If I Stay will certainly not stay around for long.

Last week's big debut winner Let's Be Cops certainly did not cop out in its second weekend, earning a fairly strong $10.8 million, bringing its total to a reasonably impressive $45.1 million. Not bad for a movie with some of the lowest reviews for a comedy this year, especially in the wake of three new film openings this weekend.

The second new film, When the Game Stands Tall rounded out the Top Five with $8.4 million. This is lower than other recent sports dramas Million Dollar Arm and Draft Day. In a year where Christian-themed movies have outperformed even the highest of expectations, this may be a sign those audiences simply will not come out for just anything – though, in all fairness, this did appear to be more of a sports movie than a Christian one.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, debuting in eight place with an appalling $6.3 million three-day take, was certainly not a film worth killing for. This not only is a jaw-dropping 78 percent off the first film's debut, but is also lower than what both The Expendables 3 and The Giver made in their second weekends ($6.5 million and $6.4 million, respectively). While many analysts are, once again, blaming the issues of piracy and poor reviews, Dame to Kill For was in for an up-hill battle from the start.

The biggest problem the sequel had was a disastrous production. Director Robert Rodriguez announced the sequel shortly after the first film's release, claiming that he wanted Angelina Jolie as the titular “dame”, and was willing to wait until her schedule became free enough to do the film. However, that time never came, and the sequel faded into obscurity. Then once the film finally started coming together, many of the actors starting getting replaced. Sure, Michael Clarke Duncan obviously needed to be replaced due to his tragic passing, his part being filled by Dennis Haysbert. But some of the other characters were replaced seemingly out of nowhere. Clive Owen's character was filled by Josh Brolin, Devon Aoki's character was replaced with Jamie Chung. Also, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis returned, which seemed confusing given the outcomes of their characters in the first film.

Add in the fact that the film's release date was pushed back by a full year from its original release date in 2013, and a pitiful marketing campaign done by distributor The Weinstein Company, it was hard to imagine this film would survive nearly a nine-and-a half-year gap with the first film.

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