August 22, 2010 / 4:58 PM / 8 years ago

Sylvester Stallone stomps on box office rookies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sylvester Stallone and his merry band of mercenaries in “The Expendables” led the North American box office for a second weekend on Sunday, while new releases starring Emma Thompson and Jennifer Aniston flopped.

“The Expendables” earned about $16.5 million across the United States and Canada during the three days beginning on

Friday, crushing five forgettable newcomers in the dog days of summer.

The 10-day tally for the action thriller rose to $64.9 million, distributor Lionsgate said. It dropped a respectable 53 percent from last weekend, when its $34.8 million opening marked one of the biggest of Stallone’s career.

Stallone also directed and co-wrote the independently produced $85 million project, whose multinational lineup includes English tough guy Jason Statham, Sweden’s Dolph Lundgren and Chinese martial-arts veteran Jet Li.

Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, said the film opened at No. 1 in the U.K. with a four-day tally of about $5.8 million since Thursday.

Best of the North American rookies was the “Twilight” spoof “Vampires Suck,” which opened at No. 2 with $12.2 million. The movie could have claimed the crown if it had not opted for a two-day head start by opening on Wednesday to maximize sales before school resumes after the summer break. Its early total stands at $18.6 million, in line with expectations.


Dishonors for the worst flop went to Thompson’s “Nanny McPhee Returns,” which was seen as having a shot at the top spot. Instead the sequel opened at No. 7 with just $8.3 million. Its 2006 predecessor started off with $14.5 million.

The opening marks the third flop in as many weeks for General Electric Co-owned distributor Universal Pictures, following “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Charlie St. Cloud.” But the studio tailored the film to the overseas market, where it has earned $63 million since late March.

The studio’s North American promotional efforts included having the two-time Oscar winner pose with a pig when she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Also new were: the urban comedy “Lottery Ticket,” starring rapper Bow Wow, at No. 4 with $11.1 million, the toothless remake “Piranha 3D” at No. 6 with $10.0 million, and Aniston’s romantic comedy “The Switch” at No. 8 with $8.1 million.

The opening for “The Switch,” which co-stars Jason Bateman, was in line with modest expectations. A year ago, the former “Friends” star endured the same opening for “Love Happens,” which wound up with $23 million.

“Vampires Suck” was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp. “Lottery Ticket” was released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc. “Piranha 3D” was released by Dimension Films, a unit of the closely held Weinstein Co. “The Switch” was released by Walt Disney Co’s Miramax Films.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman

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