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Box office: 'Expendables' still going strong; 'Vampires Suck' draws audiences [Updated]

August 22, 2010 | 10:18 am

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It’s not just the film’s aging stars that have staying power.

For the second week in a row, Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables,” the action movie starring an ensemble of performers so long in the tooth they qualify for the senior discount at the multiplex, was the nation’s most popular film, topping the unexpectedly strong performance of the new “Twilight” spoof film “Vampires Suck.”

The returns were far less impressive for the sequel “Nanny McPhee Returns,” which debuted well below expectations, and audiences are starting to ditch Julia Roberts’ “Eat Pray Love,” which dropped sharply in its second week of release. The comedy “Lottery Ticket” premiered to slightly better-than-expected business, and the other two movies in wide release -- “Piranha 3D” and “The Switch” -- generated middling returns.

According to studio estimates released Sunday, “The Expendables,” which stars Stallone and action veterans Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren, grossed $16.5 million, a drop of 53% from its robust opening of $34.8 million a week ago. The Lionsgate release of the Millennium Films production has proved surprisingly popular with younger audiences, and also has drawn an outsized percentage of female ticket buyers.

1Finishing a solid second was “Vampires Suck,” a largely under-the-radar parody from 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises, grossing $12.2 million, well ahead of projections. The send-up of the movies based on novelist Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire series comes from Peter Safran, the producer behind the similar spoofs “Meet the Spartans” (which opened better) and “Disaster Movie” (which didn’t). Fox said the movie drew a large number of young boys (some 45% of the total audience), and that the movie had grossed $18.6 million in its first five days (after opening Wednesday).

Even though “Eat Pray Love” finished third with $11.9 million, the film slid a worrisome 48% from its second-place premiere last weekend. Sony Pictures was hoping its adaptation of the best-selling memoir from Elizabeth Gilbert would spark strong audience word of mouth, and might have the same staying power as last year’s “Julie & Julia.” But Sony’s Julia Child biography fell less than 40% in its second weekend, and also attracted materially better reviews than “Eat Pray Love.”

3“Lottery Ticket,” the Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. comedy about the perils of winning a huge jackpot starring rapper Bow Wow, came in fourth with $11.1 million. “The Other Guys,” Sony’s police comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, was fifth in its third weekend of release, grossing $10.1 million.

Despite any number of supportive reviews, the Weinstein Co.’s long-delayed “Piranha 3D” could do no better than sixth, grossing $10.04 million. It was a marginally better opening than the cash-strapped studio’s last release, January’s “Youth in Revolt,” which grossed $6.9 million in its initial weekend.

“Nanny McPhee Returns,” a relatively well-reviewed family film about an eccentric English babysitter (Emma Thompson) from Universal Pictures and Working Title Films, was seventh with a meager $8.3 million, far short of projections. The first film in the series, released in 2006, grossed $14.5 million in its first weekend.

“The Switch,” a Miramax Films romantic comedy about artificial insemination (once with the far more interesting title “The Baster”) starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, grossed $8.1 million for eighth, narrowly below projections but well below some of the premieres of other Aniston films. Earlier this year, the actress’ “Bounty Hunter” opened to $20.7 million, and 2006’s “The Break-Up” premiered to $39.2 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were “Inception” with $7.7 million in ninth, and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” which slipped 53% from its poor premiere a week ago, grossing $5 million.

[Updated at 11:03 a.m.: Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com.
1. "The Expendables"(Lionsgate/Millenium/NuImage): $16.5 million in its second weekend, down 53%. Domestic total: $64.9 million.
2. "Vampires Suck" (20th Century Fox/Regency Enterprises): Opened to $12.2 million. Domestic total: $18.6 million.
3. "Eat Pray Love" (Sony): $12 million in its second weekend, down 48%. Domestic total: $47.1  million.
4. "Lottery Ticket" (Warner Bros./Alcon Entertainment): Opened to $11.1 million.
5. "The Other Guys" (Sony): $10.1 million in its third weekend, down 42%. Domestic total: $88.2 million.
6. "Piranha 3D" (The Weinstein Co.) Opened to $10.04 million.
7. "Nanny McPhee Returns" (Universal/Working Title/Relativity): Opened to $8.3 million.
8. "The Switch"(Miramax): Opened to $8.1 million.
9. "Inception" (Warner Bros./Legendary): $7.7 million in its sixth weekend, down 32%. Domestic total: $261.8 million.
10. "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" (Universal/Relativity): $5 million in its second weekend, down 53%. Domestic total: $20.7 million.]

-- John Horn

Top photo: Eric Roberts, left, and Steve Austin in "The Expendables." Credit:  Karen Ballard / Lionsgate. Middle photo: Matt Lanter in "Vampires Suck." Credit: 20th Century Fox. Bottom photo: Bow Wow, left, and Loretta Devine in "Lottery Ticket." Credit: David Lee / Warner Bros.

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