'Turtles' Kick Up Box-Office Win

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Hollywood may have found a franchise in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" again.

The latest film adaptation of the comic books about crime-fighting reptiles, this one from Viacom Inc. VIAB +0.89% 's Paramount Pictures and starring Megan Fox, opened to an estimated $65 million in the U.S. and Canada. The reboot had a production budget of $125 million and is the fifth film featuring the anthropomorphic foursome, who appeared in three live-action features in the 1990s and a computer-animated film in 2007.

Given the strong opening, Paramount said Sunday that it is planning a sequel to be released in June 2016. The latest movie's success likely derives from its appeal to young adults who were Ninja Turtles fans in childhood.

Paramount specifically marketed to what it called "nostalgics," people in their late 20s and early 30s who grew up with the characters in films, comic books and a television series, said Megan Colligan, president of domestic marketing and distribution. It isn't a group that wants to see its childhood characters toyed with, said Ms. Colligan, so the marketing emphasized known traits like the turtles' love of pizza and penchant for exclaiming "Cowabunga!" About 55% of the opening-weekend audience was older than 25.

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Ads directed at children highlighted the film's humor and light tone—something it shares with this month's other big movie, Walt Disney Co. DIS +1.57% 's "Guardians of the Galaxy." The success of "Ninja Turtles" and "Guardians" helped give Hollywood a second consecutive weekend in which box-office sales were up over last year, though year-to-date returns are still down 5.5%, according to box-office tracker Rentrak Corp. RENT +3.52%

"Guardians" kept significant business away from the new offerings in its second week, falling 56% to $41.5 million in second place. The hit about a ragtag band of superheroes has grossed $175.9 million domestically and $137.3 million overseas so far.

"Into the Storm," the new action film from Time Warner Inc. TWX +1.62% 's Warner Bros. about a small town hit with several tornadoes in a single day, met expectations, with $18 million.

"The Hundred-Foot Journey," starring Helen Mirren as a snooty French chef whose cultural mores are shaken by the arrival of an Indian family, opened in fourth place with a so-so $11.1 million. The movie, produced by DreamWorks SKG and distributed by Disney, could hold well, having received an "A" grade from audiences, the best of any new release this week, according to the CinemaScore market-research firm.

"Step Up All In" premiered with the lowest opening yet for the dance-off franchise, at $6.6 million. "All In," distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s LGF +7.51% Summit Entertainment, is the fifth installment of the "Step Up" series, and gathers dancers from former casts for a competition in Las Vegas. The "Step Up" films typically perform better overseas, and the latest has collected $37.7 million from international markets so far.