The Sly and Arnie show rolled into town and proved to be an unstoppable albeit modest force as Lionsgate’s action sequel opened top on an estimated $28.8m. Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises crossed $400m in its fifth weekend.

The Expendables grossed $34.8m exactly two years ago, which amounts to approximately $36.6m when adjusted for inflation. That film finished on $103.1m.

Once again, co-writer Sylvester Stallone leads a constellation of action aces that boasts Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Liam Hemsworth. Simon West directed.

The number one launch shunted Universal’s The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner down to second place on the cusp of $70m after two weekends following a 55% drop. In its third weekend Sony’s sci-fi reboot Total Recall plunged five places and 56% to rank tenth on $52m.

Focus Features’ ParaNorman, Laika Entertainment’s follow-up to Coraline, arrived in third place on $14m and TriStar’s diva drama Sparkle featuring former America Idol contestant Jordin Sparks and the last performance from Whitney Houston, opened fifth on a lackluster $12m. The Dark Knight Rises stands at $409.9m.

In limited release, Cohen Media Group launched The Awakening on a so-so $94,000 from 70 venues while eOne Entertainment US opened Cannes entry Cosmopolis from David Cronenberg. It did well, amassing $72,300 from three venues.

Sundance acquisitions Robot + Frank opened well through Samuel Goldwyn Films on $38,200 from two sites. Magnolia’s Compliance, another Park City premiere from the start of the year, took $16,000 from a single theatre and IFC reported that Beloved grossed $27,500 from five.

Next weekend’s wide releases include: Warner Bros’ thriller The Apparition starring Ashley Greene from the Twilight franchise; Open Road’s action comedy Hit & Run with Dax Shepard, Kristin Chenoweth and Bradley Cooper; and Sony’s action thriller Premium Rush starring the ubiquitous Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon.

Estimated Top 10 North America Aug 17-19 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate) Lionsgate Int’l $28.8m –

2 (1) The Bourne Legacy (Universal) UPI $17m $69.6m

3 (-) ParaNorman (Focus Features) FFI $14m –

4 (2) The Campaign (Warner Bros) WBPI $13.4m $51.7m

5 (-) Sparkle (TriStar) SPRI $12m –

6 (3) The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros) WBPI $11.1m $409.9m

7 (-) The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $10.9m $15.2m

8 (4) Hope Springs (Sony) SPRI $9.1m $35.1m

9 (6) Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dogs Days (Fox) Fox Int’l $3.9m $38.8m

10 (5) Total Recall (Sony) SPRI $3.5m $51.8m