On a weekend where "Guardians of the Galaxy" became the first movie to pass $300 million domestically in 2014, Hollywood saw some signs of life over a traditionally weak September box office frame.  

Screen Gems' thriller "No Good Deed" tapped into a African-American audience looking for something different and pulled in a superb $24.5 million for no. 1.  That being said, the Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson thriller earned negative reviews from critics and received an OK B+ Cinemascore (A is actually average), but with a reported budget of $13.2 million its well on its way to profitability.  It's also a nice bounce back for Screen Gems who misfired on the horror thriller "Deliver Us From Evil" in July.

The second slot went to "Dolphin Tale 2" which disappointed with just $16.5 million. Pre-release tracking had the sequel to the 2011 hit earning more than the $19.1 million the original found.  The Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment production will hope for good word of mouth from family audiences over the weeks ahead if it hopes to come anywhere near the first film's $70 million take.

After two straight weeks at no. 1, "Galaxy" dropped to no. 3 with another $8 million and $305.9 million to date. That makes "Guardians" the fifth highest grossing Marvel movie domestically behind just "The Avengers" and the three "Iron Man" films.  If Disney can hold onto theaters it should pass "Iron Man 2's" $312.4 million tally over the next few weeks.

Fourth place went to Paramount's late summer hit "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" which earned another $4.8 million for $181 million to date.  With over $319 million globally, "TMNT" is a nice double for the studio.

20th Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" held onto the fifth slot with another $4.3 million and $72.9 million overall. The Marlon Wayans, Jr. and Jake Johnson flick has benefited from a lack of comedies in the marketplace.

Right behind "Cops" at no. 6 was Fox Searchlight's "The Drop" which took in $4.9 million in just 809 theaters. Earning some unexpectedly strong reviews from critics, the James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy thriller has an excellent chance of hitting $12-15 million domestic.

In limited release, "The Skeleton Twins" found $411,000 or a very good $27,400 per theater. The Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig dramedy followed up its Sundance debut with some excellent opening day reviews and might give Sony Classics a nice September surprise at the box office.

New films opening on Friday include "The Maze Runner," "This Is Where I Leave You," "Tusk" and "A Walk Among the Tombstones."

Final box office figures are released on Monday.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.