Sylvester Stallone still blames his rivalry with fellow action man Arnold Schwarzenegger for his movie flops, because he only signed on for roles in Rhinestone and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot over fears the Terminator star would grab the parts if he didn't.
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Ninja Turtles win battle at box office
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has whipped the box office into shape, collecting $28.4 million in North American ticket sales this weekend.
The movie veterans have become great friends and they co-star in the Expendables film franchise but Stallone admits there was a time he hated the Austrian bodybuilder-turned-actor.
"We were very competitive; I think hate's a good word... I really respected the guy... but I wanted to strangle him," Stallone said.
"There's a thing when people prey on your insecurities: 'You've gotta do this movie because Arnie's gonna do it', and, 'If you don't do this thing, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, he's in!' I'd go, 'OK, I'll do it'.
"It only happened a couple of times - Rhinestone... 'What am I doing?'"
Meanwhile moviegoers continued to shell out for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while Sylvester Stallone's action ensemble The Expendables 3 was easily out-gunned in its weekend debut.
Paramount Pictures' rebooted reptiles took in $US28.4 million ($A30.73 million) in the film's second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
That far surpassed the limp $US16.2 million ($A17.53 million) earned by Stallone's gang of aged but buff warriors.
The paltry, fourth-place total for The Expendables 3 is well below previous debuts in the Lionsgate franchise. The last two Expendables movies opened with $US34.8 million ($A37.65 million) in August 2010 and $US28.6 million ($A30.94 million) in August 2012. The third film was the first to be rated PG-13 in the previously R-rated series, which potentially signaled watered-down explosiveness to an audience that was largely over 25 anyway.
Expendables 3, which features a sprawling cast of Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and others, also leaked online before its release, potentially damaging its impact in cinemas.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy came in second with $US24.7 million ($A26.72 million), bringing its three-week cumulative total to $US222 million ($A240.19 million) for distributor Walt Disney.
Along with the Nickelodeon Movies-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the cosmic romp starring Chris Pratt has helped restore some strength to the summer box office. Sequels are already in the works for both films.
After box-office returns well off the pace of last summer, Hollywood has made a slight comeback in August, typically a dumping ground for studio leftovers. The summer overall is still running at a 15 percent deficit from last year's record-breaking season, but the gap had once been above 20 percent. August is up 14 percent on last year.
"It's called the dog days of August for a reason," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak, "but thankfully in a summer with a lot of ups and downs, this has been a really good August."
A busy weekend slate also helped. Opening in third place was the 20th Century Fox buddy comedy Let's Be Cops, starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. It took in $US17.7 million ($A19.15 million).
Also debuting was the Lois Lowry adaption The Giver, a dystopian young-adult tale starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. The Weinstein Co. release opened with an estimated $US12.8 million ($A13.85 million).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian cinemas:
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, $US28.4 million ($A30.73 million) ($US25.6 million ($A27.70 million) international).
2. Guardians of the Galaxy, $US24.7 million ($A26.72 million) ($US33.1 million ($A35.81 million) international).
3. Let's Be Cops, $US17.7 million ($A19.15 million) ($US650,000 ($A703,272.92) international).
4. The Expendables 3, $US16.2 million ($A17.53 million) ($US15 million ($A16.23 million) international).
5. The Giver, $US12.8 million ($A13.85 million).
6. Into the Storm, $US7.7 million ($A8.33 million) ($US6.7 million ($A7.25 million) international).
7. The Hundred-Foot Journey, $US7.1 million ($A7.68 million).
8. Lucy, $US5.3 million ($A5.73 million) ($US22 million ($A23.80 million) international).
9. Step Up All In, $US2.7 million ($A2.92 million) ($US3 million ($A3.25 million) international).
10. Boyhood, $US2.1 million ($A2.27 million).
*Where available, latest international numbers are also included, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:
1. How To Train Your Dragon 2, $US37.7 million ($A40.79 million).
2. Guardians of the Galaxy, $US33.1 million ($A35.81 million).
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, $US25.6 million ($A27.70 million).
4. Lucy, $US22 million ($A23.80 million).
5. The Admiral: Roaring Currents, $US20 million ($A21.64 million).
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, $US16.5 million ($A17.85 million).
7. The Expendables 3, $US15 million ($A16.23 million).
8. Pirates, $US13.5 million ($A14.61 million).
9. Transformers: Age of Extinction, $US8.4 million ($A9.09 million).
10. The Inbetweeners Movie 2, $US7 million ($A7.57 million).
WENN, with AP