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Box office report: 'No Good Deed' is No. 1, 'Guardians' passes $300 million

They might be enemies in No Good Deed, but the combined star power of Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson helped the thriller take control of the box office this weekend. No Good Deed opened in first place with an impressive $24.5 million from 2,175 locations.

Even though mid-week tracking predicted a mid-teens opening for the $13 million pic, this debut wasn’t exactly a surprise for Screen Gems. “We really felt we were going to win. We felt we were in the zone and had a film that people were really going to like,” Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution, tells EW. “We were always very high on the film and felt that it would really work. When you put all the elements togethergreat casting with Idris and Taraji, and this very, very suspenseful, taut thriller that Sam Miller deliveredit worked really well.”

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Box office report: 'Guardians' nears $300 million, 'Identical' flops

Guardians-of-the-Galaxay.jpg

Guardians of the Galaxy claimed the No. 1 spot once more this weekend with an estimated $10.16 million as it makes its way towards the coveted $300 million mark, while the faith-based musical drama The Identical (Cinema Score: B)the only new wide releasefailed to catch on in any significant way, opening in 11th place with a shoddy $1.91 million. The rest of the top five were all holdovers, earning in or around $5 million.

If things seem somewhat unexciting at the box office this weekend, your eyes and untouched movie dollars aren’t deceiving you: It was basically planned to be that way. “This is the no man’s land between the end of the summer season and the start of Oscar season and the big holiday movie season,” Rentrak’s Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian told EW earlier this week. “This is just one of those weekends that are always expected to be slow. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, the sky is not falling, it’s just post-Labor Day weekend and we have to live through it.”

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Box office update: 'Guardians' leads slowest weekend of the year

The weekend after Labor Day has the dubious distinction of being the lowest grossing period of the year. No one in the industry expects anything notable from these three days. The fact that The Identical, a barely on the radar faith-based musical drama about an Elvis-like figure, is the single new wide opener (on pace for a 10th place showing with a $534K Friday) is only further proof that everyoneeven moviegoers it seems—is taking the weekend off.

But, this barren landscape gives way for audiences to catch up with a few familiar titles, and, as expected, Guardians of the Galaxy will claim the top spot on the charts for the third weekend in a row. With an estimated $2.71 million Friday, the Marvel heroes are on their way to an $8 or $9 million weekend, which will bring the domestic total north of $290 million. The rest of Friday’s top five, all holdovers including If I Stay, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Let’s Be Cops, and The November Man, will all net out around or under $5 million this weekend.

Here are the top five:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy  $2.71 million ($287.1 million domestic total)
2. If I Stay $1.61 million ($35.5 million domestic total)
3. Let’s Be Cops $1.55 million ($62.75 million domestic total)
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $1.5 million (169.7 million domestic total)
5. The November Man $1.24 million ($14.9 million domestic total)

Check back in tomorrow for weekend estimates.

Arnold Schwarzenegger zombie thriller 'Maggie' gets U.S. distribution

In the genre-subverting apocalyptic thriller Maggie, which Lionsgate just acquired  for North American distribution, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a father grappling with his daughter’s imminent zombie-ness.

John Scott 3’s Black List script imagines a world overtaken by a zombie virus, but focuses the trauma on the relationship between a father and his daughter (Abigail Breslin) as she slowly devolves into one of the cannibalistic undead. Henry Hobson, whose main credits are for designing title sequences for video games, television shows, and films such as The Help and The Walking Dead, directed the film, which also stars Joely Richardson.

Maggie has all the ingredients that spell commercial excitement—a compelling script and an ‘A’ list superstar surrounded by a world-class cast,” said Lionsgate’s Co-Chief Operating Officer and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks. “We’re delighted to continue our relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who turns in a performance that marks a dramatic departure from his action persona, and partner with our friends at Lotus Entertainment on a film that will resonate with thriller aficionados everywhere.”

Lotus co-chairs Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel, who produced and will handle international sales, added: “Maggie takes the zombie genre in exciting new directions, and it offers something for everyone—star power, horror, suspense, and riveting performances that will keep moviegoers on the edge of their seats.”

Maggie does not have a set release date yet, but it’s expected to arrive in theaters in early 2015.

Shlocky charms: The crazy rise and 'terrifying' return of 'Leprechaun'

How did a low budget horror movie about a diminutive Irish monster spawn five sequels, a new reboot, and the career of Jennifer Aniston? EW tracks the deranged history of the Leprechaun franchise.

British actor Warwick Davis says he has “specific” fans—well-wishers who want to discuss just one of the several fantasy franchises in which he has appeared. “People talk about Star Wars, people talk about Harry Potter,” he explains, “and people talk about Leprechaun.

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Box office preview: Will teen drama 'If I Stay' top 'Sin City' sequel?

It takes a special kind of sequel to be able to withstand a nine-year gap between releases, and unfortunately for Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, Sin City: A Dame to Kill for doesn’t appear to be up to the task. Instead, the YA adaptation If I Stay looks poised to take first place this weekend.

Here’s how things might play out.

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Box office preview: 'Expendables 3' to challenge 'Turtle' power

In what just as easily could have been a box office showdown from 1990, Sylvester Stallone and his buddies face off against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at theaters this weekend. And even though The Expendables 3 boasts a star-studded action hero cast of a just-bygone era, the Turtles might still win out.

The long-gestating adaptation of The Giver opens wide as well, playing alongside the buddy comedy Let’s Be Cops, which hit theaters on Wednesday. Indie darling Boyhood expands to just under 800 theaters, too.

Here’s how things might play out on this late summer weekend.

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Adrian Garcia Bogliano starts shooting black comedy 'Scherzo Diabolico'

Scherzo-Diabolico

Director Adrián García Bogliano has yet to release his most recently completed film, the werewolf tale Late Phases. But EW can reveal that the prolific filmmaker has commenced principal photography on his next movie in Mexico City. The film is called Scherzo Diabolico and, according to the official release, it “brings Bogliano back from the supernatural realm to a wild black comedy about a bored and frustrated accountant who decides to kidnap a girl who will become his worst nightmare.”

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Awesome zombie movie 'The Battery' now has a making-of doc

The-Battery

How do you make one of the best low-budget horror movies of the past few years? With a lot of booze and no underwear. At least, that’s what the folks responsible for zombie film The Battery claim in the trailer for a making-of documentary—which will be included among the bonus extras when Scream Factory releases the film on Blu-ray and DVD, September 16.

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Box office report: 'Lucy' slays 'Hercules' with $44 million debut

Hercules‘s muscles were no match for Lucy‘s drug-enhanced brain at the box office this weekend. Audiences turned out in earnest to see the Scarlett Johansson thriller, which earned an expectation-shattering $44 million from 3,173 theaters in its first weekend.

Not only is it director Luc Besson’s biggest opening, Lucy is also a career high for Scarlett Johansson as a lead. Audiences for the original feature were evenly split between genders, 35 percent were under the age of 25, and 29 percent were Hispanic. But even though the EuropaCorp-produced, Universal-distributed project appealed to a wide demographic swath, those who did see the R-rated action film were a little less kind in the exit polls, slapping Lucy with a poor C+ Cinema Score.

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