Even in a very busy marketplace dominated by the “Barbenheimer” craze, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem still managed a very healthy opening weekend. The seventh theatrical motion picture in the franchise’s history has made $43 million since premiering on Wednesday. This is also the second fully animated movie starring the Turtles, following 2007’s TMNT.
Now some might point out that 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opened to significantly more and argue this is a bad sign for Mutant Mayhem going forward, but that’s really not the case here. Keep in mind that the Michael Bay-produced outing had much more hype surrounding it, and was the first live-action movie for the series in more than 20 years. More importantly, Paramount kept the budget for Mutant Mayhem relatively modest, borrowing a page from Illumination’s playbook and giving it a reported price tag of $70 million.
Also, everyone involved made a good film here, with an enormous 95% “freshness” rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, and for the sake of comparison, this is the first time a Turtles flick has gotten such reviews (all of the other entries in the franchise, fairly or not, have a “rotten” score on the site). And it’s paying off, with terrific word-of-mouth so far among audiences. Ninja Turtles could potentially have some staying power, as there are no other animated films until Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (which somehow has been given a PG rating by the MPA) opens at the end of September. Blue Beetle might bite into the family market in a couple of weeks, but tracking is currently extremely poor for that one.
Disney’s Haunted Mansion, unfortunately, continues to be dead at the box office. It has made less in ten days than Ninja Turtles has made in five, with a total of $42 million against a budget upwards of $150 million. What went wrong here? Why did the Mouse House release an obviously Halloween-friendly creature feature at the end of July? The answer to the latter might be that they want it on Disney+ in time for the holiday. Nevertheless, a marketing push for Mansion never really seemed to happen. There was no big money shot in the trailers to get folks excited, and while Owen Wilson and Danny DeVito are favorites with audiences, they aren’t going to be able to open a summer blockbuster on their own, especially in supporting roles.
Elsewhere, Disney and Pixar’s Elemental spent what is most likely its last weekend in the top ten, but this has ended up being a surprise success story. The movie currently has a total of $148 million and will soon surpass Cars 3. That’s not bad at all for a film that opened to less than $30 million. Even better, it’s been doing well worldwide, with $423 million in the bank.
Final figures are due this evening.