"If I Stay", a teen love story of sorrow and grief, topped a sluggish box office Friday, leading a late-summer season marked by villains in space, a Ninja Turtles comeback and the inky, graphic-novel violence of a city in sin and a dame in trouble.
Based on the 2009 bestselling book by Gayle Forman, "If I Stay," starring Chloe Grace Moretz, took in $6.8 million. The film reaffirmed that teen tragedies -- first loves, woeful gazes -- lifted from popular young-adult novels have been a force, if not always a critical success, at the box office this year. "If I Stay" follows the earlier prominence of "The Fault in Our Stars," which has so far grossed at least $124 million.
Interstellar wit, heroics and a well-armed raccoon helped "Guardians of the Galaxy" finish second on Friday with an estimated $4.8 million. Since opening several weeks ago, the Marvel film has grossed more than $239 million. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" finished third with $4.5 million, and "Let's Be Cops," starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson, finished fourth with $3.2 million.
The much anticipated "Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" finished sixth in its opening day, with $2.6 million. The film did not fare well with the critics. The New York Times said of the sequel to 2005's "Sin City": "[T]he dudes are still damaged, the dames remain deadly, and the neo-noir aesthetic still possesses an assaultive force. That's one reason the sequel's addition of 3-D is not just unnecessary but counterproductive."
A tale of a car accident and the aftermath of tragedy in a snow-swept Oregon, "If I Stay" also proved uneven with the critics. The Seattle Times said: "In a summer that brought us a very good movie about a dying teenage girl ('The Fault in Our Stars'), it seems statistically unlikely that we might get another -- and, indeed, we don't."