Guardians of the Galaxy Stops Summer Slump
By David Mumpower
August 3, 2014
The numbers demonstrate the point. Thor: The Dark World earned $85.7 million on opening weekend, $31.9 million of which was accumulated on its first day. Captain America: The Winter Soldier debuted to $95 million, $36.9 million of which came on its first day. Guardians of the Galaxy grossed $94 million, $37.8 million of which happened on Friday. In the process, it effectively matched the post-Avengers release of Captain America while handily defeating Thor. It also absolutely obliterated the standing record for an August opening weekend, which had been The Bourne Ultimatum's $69.3 million. The only logical explanation for this behavior is that Marvel has become a bona fide brand in and of itself similar to what Pixar and DreamWorks Animation accomplished last decade. All the credit for that goes to Kevin Feige and his team.
Where does Guardians of the Galaxy go from here? It is already a huge hit overseas, earning $66 million for a global debut of $160 million. It also bagged an A Cinemascore, something few summer films have managed. With glowing reviews and that kind of word-of-mouth, this science fiction epic has a chance to unseat Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the number one domestic release of the year. The trick will be to use the next few weeks of summer weekdays to make up the difference. No matter what, Guardians of the Galaxy is unlikely to track down Transformers: Age of Extinction as the number one global release of 2014 since that film just crossed the billion dollar mark this weekend. Then again, who would have considered Guardians of the Galaxy as the potential number one film of the year many months ago when that quirky Hooked on a Feeling video first debuted?
It’s a long way down to second place, which is occupied by last weekend’s top film, Lucy. The Scarlett Johansson/Luc Besson science fiction/action film earned $18.3 million, down a not-surprising 58% from its debut weekend. Everything the film earned from opening weekend on was pretty much gravy, so the fact that it is now sitting with $79.6 million has to have the executives over at Universal feeling very happy at this point. The title is yet another feather in their cap in what has been an outstanding two-year run.
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know there were two openers this weekend, though the second one did relatively well compared to budget and expectations. Get On Up, the James Brown biopic featuring Chadwick Boseman, earned $14 million over three days. It was released to a conservative 2,468 locations, which means it had a venue average of $5,685. Tate Taylor (The Help) directed the film, and early critical and audience response is quite promising. It currently sits at 77% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, while the Cinemascore is an A. Considering that the budget was a slim $30 million, Universal should be pleased with this result. It may even get some discussion during awards season, as Boseman is being praised across the board for his portrayal of Brown.
Fourth place goes to our other holdover from last week, the Rock’s Hercules. It had a hefty drop of 64%, but considering that it was competing for the same demographic that just tossed almost $100 million at Guardians of the Galaxy, this decline was to be expected. With $10.7 million more in the coffers, the Paramount release brings its total up to $52.3 million. It has slightly more money than that from international theaters, bringing its overall worldwide total to $108.8 million. Although it’s not particularly a roaring success in North America, the movie appears to have enough appeal overseas that it should be an okay financial performer.