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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' likely to beat three new releases

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Cowabunga...again? 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' may win box office for second weekend

Despite three new film openings, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' may still shred to the top of the box office this weekend.

The popular franchise is likely to gross $35 million in its second weekend, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. That would put the Paramount Pictures film ahead of dystopian adventure "The Giver," action film "The Expendables 3" and buddy cop comedy "Let's Be Cops," none of which are expected to have especially massive debuts.

Though critics shelled "Turtles," the Michael Bay-produced film beat opening weekend expectations with a solid $65 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film has grossed roughly $84 million in the domestic box office so far.

Of the three new offerings, "The Expendables 3" and "Let's Be Cops" will have tight competition to secure the No. 2 spot.

The R-rated comedy "Let's Be Cops" had a respectable start at the box office, grossing $5.2 million in its Wednesday release.

The 20th Century Fox buddy film, which began its early showings at 10 p.m., follows two friends Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) who pretend to be police officers.

The studio said it expects the film to have a $25-million five-day opening. However, industry tracking suggests the film could gross as much as $31 million.

The Luke Greenfield-directed comedy, which cost about $17 million to make, has not been received positively by critics. On Thursday, the film had received a paltry 11% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Last August, another R-rated comedy "We're the Millers" was the surprise runner-up in the box office, earning $26.6 million in its first weekend.

The Patrick Hughes-directed "The Expendables 3," distributed by Lionsgate, stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas and other muscular action stars. Unlike its R-rated predecessors, the third film in the franchise is rated PG-13.

The well-received second installment opened with $28.8 million in August 2012, knocking out competition in the box office. The movie topped out at $85 million in North America but did far better overseas, where it collected 72% of its $305 million global tally.

However, the third film in the franchise may not fare as well in theaters, as it was illegally leaked in its entirety on six different websites several weeks ago. 

The studio expects it to gross between $20 million to $25 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada.

Based on the 1993 young adult novel by Lois Lowry, "The Giver," which stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Katie Holmes, will likely gross $15 million to $20 million. 

The Weinstein Company distributed and produced the film, which cost about $20 million to make.

Though the film may be a decent performer for the Weinstein Co., it won't fare nearly as well as some recent young adult adaptations at the box office.

Lionsgate's "Divergent," the first film adaptation from a series of young adult novels by Veronica Roth, grossed more than $270 million worldwide after opening in March, while the second installment in "The Hunger Games" franchise made more than $860 million last fall.

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