- Associated Press - Sunday, August 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sylvester Stallone and his beefy buddies have muscled their way to the top of the weekend box office.

Stallone’s action hero roundup “The Expendables 2” debuted at No. 1 with $28.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That’s down from the $34.8 million start for “The Expendables” two years ago.

The Lionsgate sequel elbowed out another action tale as Universal’s “The Bourne Legacy” fell to No. 2 in its second weekend with $17 million. That was a steep 55 percent drop from its $38.1 million opening weekend, though the movie’s domestic total climbed to a solid $69.6 million.

Three other wide releases opened to modest business.

Focus Features’ animated comedy “ParaNorman, about a boy leading the fight against zombies that rise from the grave, was No. 3 with $14 million.

Sony’s music remake “Sparkle,” featuring “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston, was No. 5 with $12 million. The update of the 1976 movie centers on three sisters who form a singing group in the late 1960s.

Disney’s family fantasy “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” was No. 7 with $10.9 million. The movie stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a childless couple who become instant parents to a boy that magically appears in their lives.

The newcomers and holdovers combined to lift Hollywood’s overall business. Domestic revenues totaled $139 million, up 12 percent from the same weekend last year, when “The Help” led with $20 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

Business had been down the previous three weekends this summer, which has fallen short of the record-setting business many studio executives were predicting at the start of the season.

Since the first weekend of May, revenues total $3.9 billion, down 5 percent from last summer’s, when Hollywood finished with an all-time high of $4.4 billion for the season, according to Hollywood.com.

This summer delivered huge hits such as “The Avengers” with $617.6 million domestically and “The Dark Knight Rises,” which took in $11.1 million this weekend to cross the $400 million mark and edge past “The Hunger Games” to become the year’s second-biggest hit.

But other releases such as “Dark Shadows,” “Battleship,” “The Watch” and “Total Recall” were duds that failed to live up to the summer’s hype.

With only two weekends left in the season and no obvious hits premiering, it’s unlikely that Hollywood will break last summer’s record.

“We’re winding down the summer and we’re in the dog days of August. They’re called that for a reason, because we’re experiencing the typical summer slowdown, only it seems worse this year,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“The Expendables 2” also pulled in $17.3 million overseas.

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