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

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.

Actor Terry Crews (C) poses shirtless for photographers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, August 19, 2010. Crews and castmates Sylvester Stallone (L), Dolph Lundgren (obscured) and Jason Statham (not in picture) from the film "The Expendables" rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“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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