'80s action stars back on top in "Expendables 2"

Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:56pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Christine Kearney

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The aging tough guys of "Expendables 2" strong-armed the box office competition with a chart-topping $28.8 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates.

Last week's domestic winner, "The Bourne Legacy" starring Jeremy Renner, slipped to the No. 2 spot with $17 million. In third place, newcomer 3D stop-motion movie "ParaNorman," earned $14 million.

The Expendables" sequel that unites "Rocky" actor Sylvester Stallone, "Terminator" Arnold Schwarzenegger and other 1980s stars, brings together a group of spies for an easy mission that turns dangerous when they seek revenge for a murder.

The film follows the surprise success in 2010 of the original "Expendables," which opened with $34.8 million domestically and ultimately grossed $274 million worldwide.

In addition to 66-year-old Stallone and 65-year-old Schwarzenegger, the film stars Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris, plus younger stars such as "Hunger Games" actor Liam Hemsworth.

Lions Gate had predicted a debut in the low $30 million range, while other box office watchers saw a possible $40 million opening.

David Spitz, executive vice president and general sales manager at Lions Gate, said a large proportion of the audience were aged over 25, which gave strength to its longer term prospects.

"It always bodes well for box office playability when you have an older audience," he said.   Continued...

Cast member Nikolette Noel poses at the premiere of "The Expendables 2" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California August 15, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni