Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: When Critics and Audiences Disagree—Really?

Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (TMNT) more than doubled the box office earnings of Disney-Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Friday.

“TMNT” earned mostly negative reviews (20% rating) on Rotten Tomatoes, which means 1 out of 5 notices has been favorable. It scored a B CinemaScore, and we gave it a C+ (still positive),

The turtle adventure opened to $25.6 million and is on track for a much-higher-than-anticipated $62 million to $65 million this weekend. Analysts had expected the film to debut north of $40 million.

The film is also doing strong business internationally, earning $6.7 million from 19 markets on Friday to bring its foreign gross to $12 million. Russia and Mexico are leading the way with $5.5 million and $2.6 million, respectively.

“TMNT” was off to a solid start on Thursday when it reeled in $4.6 million from late-night screenings.

The picture looks to out-gross in a single weekend the entire domestic cumulative of the most recent turtles tale, 1993’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III,” which made $42.3 million.

The rebooted “TMNT” comes with a hefty $125 million budget. It’s directed by Jonathan Liebesman, produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, and stars Megan Fox.

The film benefits from both older audiences’ familiarity with the 1990s films and TV shows, as well as younger movie-goers’ interest in the rebooted Nickelodeon series.

After giving a boost to a stagnant summer box office when it debuted to an astonishing $94.3 million last weekend, last week’s box office winner, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” was runner-up this Friday with $12.3 million. The intergalactic pic is headed for a $42 million sophomore weekend. This would mark a 55% drop and raise its cume to almost $177 million.