Friday Numbers Analysis

By David Mumpower

August 2, 2014

I wonder if it's odd for Star Lord to be the weird looking guy of the bunch.

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Consider the galaxy sufficiently guarded. Records will be shattered this weekend as the latest release from Marvel Studios has performed like all the other releases from Marvel despite being an entirely new property. In the process, Guardians of the Galaxy claimed the largest Thursday sneaks revenue total of the year and is now poised to annihilate the standing record for biggest August debut.

Yesterday, Guardians of the Galaxy claimed a massive $37.8 million. In doing so, it surpassed the first day total of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, $36.9 million, to become the third largest single day of revenue in 2014. It trails only the $41.9 million attained by Transformers: Age of Extinction and Godzilla’s $38.4 million,. The difference between the four projects is simple. The other three titles are either sequels or reboots. Guardians of the Galaxy is a new property adapted from a largely unheralded Marvel comic book. None of the characters involved in this movie are considered seminal to the Marvel universe in the way that Captain America, Thor, The Hulk and Iron Man are.

Simply stated, the Marvel brand has become for Disney what the Pixar brand had been through 2010. Consumer trust in the Marvel product is total. Even virtually unknown characters can still anchor a blockbuster debut. Guardians of the Galaxy will fall short of matching Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s opening weekend for reasons explained in just a moment. It will, however, claim a better opening weekend than Thor: The Dark World. And Thor is an Avenger! The Avengers bump we have been tracking for a while now is no longer exclusive to Avengers characters. A superhero space team of similar composition has been accepted by consumers as a worthy Avengers substitute while they wait for Age of Ultron.


In terms of box office, Guardians of the Galaxy effectively earned $27.6 million on Friday plus $11.2 million from Thursday sneaks. People have been quick to presume that it will follow the Winter Soldier model of weekend holdover performance. That is not accurate because the second Captain America film opened in early April. Guardians of the Galaxy opened in the summer, which provided more customers with the opportunity to watch the movie on Thursday and Friday. That aspect will be counterbalanced somewhat by how young Guardians of the Galaxy skews due to its CGI raccoon and other Disney influences.

What we can intuit is that The Winter Soldier earned $10.2 million of its $36.9 million first day via Thursday night sneaks. Removing those from the calculations, it grossed $84.8 million the rest of the weekend, $26.7 million of which occurred on Friday. That is a 3.15 weekend multiplier. Realistically, Guardians of the Galaxy should finish in the range of 2.8. That would mean $77.3 million over the weekend plus the $11.2 million from Thursday’s early previews. That is a weekend total of $88.5 million. I will be surprised if the weekend estimate is not at least $90 million, though.

Yesterday also featured the debut of Get On Up, the James Brown biopic featuring the star of 42, Chadwick Boseman. It was directed by Tate Taylor, the talent responsible for 2011’s surprise blockbuster, The Help. Get On Up is similar to Guardians of the Galaxy in that both titles have received glowing reviews and A Cinemascores. The similarities end there as Get On Up managed $5.5 million on Friday, a solid return for a $30 million production but only the third best performance on Friday behind Guardians and Lucy, which managed $5.7 million. Nobody will ever remember that there was a second film released this weekend, though. Guardians of the Galaxy’s record-setting August debut will be all that they recall.



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