‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Sequel Tops Friday Box Office With $12.5 Million

Tearjerker “Me Before You” starts strong with $7.8 million

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Teaser Trailer
Paramount Pictures

Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” kicked off its opening weekend with $12.5 million in Friday box office returns.

The sequel, again starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett, should easily win the weekend though prognosticators have downgraded its three-day tally from nearly $40 million to the low $30 millions.

Based on the popular 1980s cartoon series, “Out of the Shadows” will likely top “X-Men: Apocalypse” for first place as Bryan Singer‘s superhero sequel for Fox finishes out its second weekend in theaters.

The comic-book adaptation made $6.6 million on Friday, and seems poised for a second weekend of $22 million from 4,153 sites — a steep 66 percent drop from its holiday-weekend opening.

Meanwhile, New Line and MGM’s romantic drama “Me Before You,” starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, opened in 2,704 locations with a decent $7.8 million on Friday, well above projections.

The weekend’s only other new wide release looks to be a clunker: Universal’s comedy spoof movie, “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” brought in just $1.8 million from 2,311 locations on Friday and is projected to finish the weekend at a dismal $6 million.

In spite of its presumed 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’s” predicted opening is now roughly $30 million less than the opening 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 is strategically debuting “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’s playing in 4,071 theaters in North America and has a CinemaScore of A-.

“Me Before You” will bring in more modest returns this weekend, though estimates have been upgraded to roughly $19 million (from $14 million earlier in the week). That’s 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 should 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.