(AP Photo/Lionsgate-Millennium Films, Frank Masi)
"The Expendables 2," featuring from left, Terry Crews, Sylvester Stallone and Randy Couture, was the top-grossing film at the box office over the weekend.
A crush of new films — led by "The Expendables 2" — opened on the softer side as the dog days of August gripped the North American box office.
One exception was Disney's whimsical drama "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," which met its mark in posting a five-day debut of $15.2 million on the strength of younger and older females (the movie opened on Wednesday).
"The Expendables 2," from Lionsgate and Millennium Films, easily topped the box office with $28.8 million, but came in $6 million behind "The Expendables," which debuted to $34.8 million on the same weekend in 2010.
The sequel has even more star power, having added Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Liam Hemsworth to its lineup. And while Arnold Schwarzenegger made a cameo in the first film, he's featured far more this time around.
The rest of the cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Terry Crews.
Financially, Lionsgate is on solid ground, having acquired North American and U.K. rights to "The Expendables 2" for $35 million.
Lionsgate executive vice president of distribution David Spitz says there are several reasons why "The Expendables 2" will have long legs. One is the film's A- CinemaScore, portending good worth of mouth (the first film received a B+).
The sequel also played older than the 2010 title, with 65 percent of the audience over the age of 25, versus 60 percent for "Expendables."
"We think we'll have a great run," Spitz said. "Older audiences don't rush out to the cinema on opening weekend."
"Bourne Legacy" came in No. 2 in its second weekend, grossing $17 million for a domestic total of $69.6 million. Overseas, the pic grossed $18.2 million from 18 territories for an early international total of $28.1 and worldwide cume of $97.7 million.
Among the weekend's other new films, Focus Features' family entry "ParaNorman" came in No. 3, grossing $14 million. The 3-D stop-motion pic, earning a B+ CinemaScore, was produced by Laika, the creative force behind "Coraline." (Focus has a distribution deal with Laika.)
"ParaNorman" came in on the low end of expectations and behind "Coraline's" $16.8 million debut in February 2009. One milestone — the movie is playing in 3,429 locations, the widest bow ever for Focus.
The tale of a boy who must stop the destruction of his hometown by a witch's spell, "ParaNorman" is voiced by Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick and Leslie Mann.
"We have a good number of weeks in front of us before the 3-D re-release of 'Finding Nemo' on Sept. 14. We also have the Labor Day holiday," said Focus president of distribution Jack Foley.
He noted that "ParaNorman" saw an 18 percent jump from Friday to Saturday, whereas most animated summer films are flat or only see a 10 percent gain.
Warner Bros.' raunchy political comedy "The Campaign," starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, placed No. 4, grossing $13.4 million in its second weekend for a domestic total of $51.7 million.
TriStar's musical drama "Sparkle" — Whitney Houston's final movie — came in No. 5 in its debut, grossing $12 million (also the low end of expectations). The film received a glowing A CinemaScore and cost a modest $14 million to produce.
The remake of the 1976 film stars "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Cee Lo Green, Cameron Ejogo and Tika Sumpter and is about three sisters who form a singing group in Detroit during the Motown era. Houston plays their mother.
"Given the storyline, the campaign for 'Sparkle' was aimed at women and audiences who would connect with themes from the film, such as the music, fashion and faith. Opening weekend exit surveys show the film played exactly as we expected: Older and female," said a Sony spokesman.
Of those turning out, 74 percent of the audience was female and 62 percent over the age of 35.
"Timothy Green," starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a childless couple who dream up a 10-year-old boy, received an A- CinemaScore. Directed by Peter Hedges, the movie cost $25 million to produce.
"It’s gratifying to see quality, family filmmaking recognized by audiences who, with their favorable CinemaScore, leave us hopeful that word of mouth will propel a nice, long run," Disney executive vice president of distribution Dave Hollis said.
Disney also made box office headlines as "Brave" jumped the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office, the 11th Pixar title to reach the milestone.
The specialty box office generated news as David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," starring Robert Pattinson, scored the best average of the weekend, grossing $96,437 from three theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $32,146. Entertainment One is distributing the film.
Samuel Goldwyn's "Robot & Frank" debuted to $38,234 from two theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a per theater average of $19,117; Magnolia's "Compliance" debuted in one theater, grossing $16,000.
French film "Chicken With Plums" debuted to $11,207 from two theaters in L.A. and New York for a theater average of $5,604.
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