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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ Wins Weekend With $35.3 Million

Weepy ”Me Before You“ opens strong in third place with $18.3 million, ”Popstar“ flops at $4.6 million

Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” won the weekend box office, opening with $35.3 million from 4,071 locations.

Though the sequel, again starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett, easily took first place, it earned nowhere near the $66 million made when its predecessor opened in 2014.

Meanwhile, New Line and MGM’s romantic drama “Me Before You,” starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, opened in 2,704 locations with an impressive $18.3 million — well above initial projections.

The tearjerker came in third, behind 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which earned an estimated $22.3 million during its second weekend in theaters — a steep 66 percent drop that brought the comic book film’s domestic total to $116.5 million.

The weekend’s only other new wide release bombed: Universal’s comedy spoof movie “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” brought in just $4.6 million from 2,311 locations, debuting outside of the top five, well behind family-oriented holdovers like “Alice Through the Looking Glass” ($10.7 million) and “The Angry Birds Movie” ($9.8 million).

In spite of its first-weekend box office supremacy, the second “TMNT” film from Paramount has an uphill battle in store.

The production budget for the sequel was $10 million more than the $125 million spent on making the 2014 reboot. Yet “TMNT 2” opened at $30 million less than the first-weekend grosses for 2014’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The 2014 reboot ultimately earned $191.2 million in domestic grosses. Profits from the film depended more on the $302.1 million that the movie made abroad.

The Paramount sequel will also have added competition from a big fish on the horizon when “Finding Dory” opens on June 17 in the U.S. and abroad. The Disney-Pixar sequel is expected to suck all the air out of any family-friendly contenders, “TMNT” included.

Paramount strategically debuted “Out of the Shadows” in 40 international markets this weekend, too.

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” sequel has a current Rotten Tomatoes score of just 37 percent and features returning cast Fox and Arnett, with franchise newcomers Stephen Amell and Tyler Perry. It has a CinemaScore of A-.

Though estimates were upgraded by some experts to roughly $19 million as the weekend ensued, “Me Before You” was expected to gross only $14 million as of early last week. Coming in at $18.3 million is not bad at all for a film made on a production budget just higher than $20 million.

Geared toward a female audience — many of whom read the warmly reviewed Jojo Moyes novel of the same name — the film will likely benefit from lack of competition from other genre films for the foreseeable future of its run.

The movie, starring Clarke as a small-town girl who forges a bond with a paralyzed man (Claflin), has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 54 percent. In spite of tepid reviews, the film has a solid A CinemaScore — indicating audiences are excited to see the new title.

“Popstar,” which mock’s the life of a Bieber-esque singer, is set to bomb, now expected to gross less than $6 million this weekend against its $21 million production budget.

Made by the guys behind Lonely Island and starring Andy Samberg, the film has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of this weekend’s new wide releases: 78 percent. “Popstar” has a B CinemaScore.

The Top Five:

1. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” (Paramount) — $35.3 million in Week 1 ($35.3 million total)
2. “X-Men: Apocalypse” (20th Century Fox) — $22.3 million in Week 2 ($116.5 million total)
3. “Me Before You” (New Line/MGM) — $18.3 million in Week 1 ($18.3 million total)
4. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (Disney) — $10.7 million in Week 2 ($50.8 million total)
5. “The Angry Birds Movie” (Sony) — $9.8 million in Week 3 ($86.7 million total)

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