Weekend Wrap-Up

Guardians Crowned Kings of Summer Box Office

By John Hamann

August 24, 2014

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Bow to the box office power of Marvel and the Guardians!

After winning the top spot at box office during the weekend of August 1st, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are back on top and taking the summer box office crown at the same time. While it may seem like it was all planned, the box office heading into the weekend looked much different than it does this morning. The Warner Bros. film If I Stay had a decent Thursday preview run, and it looked like the YA adaption was heading toward a $20 million weekend. Considering Sin City 2’s big cast and awesome visuals, it should have been in play as well. When The Game Stands Tall, a faith-based football movie based on a true story, was expected to have a quieter debut. Fortunately for Guardians, all the openers save one imploded somewhat this weekend, leaving the top spot open for either Guardians of the Galaxy or those pesky Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Our number one film of the weekend is Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel and Disney’s now 4-weekend-old space hero extravaganza. After a Monday-to-Thursday where it returned to number one (it fell to #2 on Tuesday, falling behind TMNT by about $2,000), it got dumped to second again on Friday, as it earned $4.8 million versus If I Stay’s $6.8 million (If Stay's total included $1.1 million from Thursday previews). Still, teen boys are still heading to theaters to see Guardians, which gave it a boost on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, If I Stay looked a lot like The Fault in Our Stars, with a strong Friday followed by a tail-off over the rest of the weekend. Guardians was ripe for a comeback. On Saturday, Guardians rose back into the number one spot, earning $7.5 million. Over the weekend proper, Guardians of the Galaxy earned $17.6 million, off an excellent 30% from the previous frame.


It is extremely rare for a film to debut at #1, then fall from the top spot on subsequent weekends before claiming the top spot again. The last time was with Disney’s Frozen, which was #1 on December 6, 2013 then again a month later, on January 3, 2014. Skyfall followed a pattern more akin to Guardians. It opened on in first place on November 9, 2012 to $88.3 million, spent three weekends at #2, and rose back to #1 on December 7th with $10.8 million. Another is Chronicles of Narnia, which followed the same pattern as Frozen. It opened at #1 on December 9, 2005, was #2 for two weekends, and then rose to the top spot again again on December 30th. The last example I’ll offer is the last time this happened in August, when Signs followed the Guardians pattern. It debuted at #1 on August 2, 2002, spent two weekends in second, and then had repeat weekends at #1 on August 23rd and Labor Day weekend.

With a blistering take of $251.9 million at the domestic box office, Guardians of the Galaxy has also won the summer box office crown. Transformers: Age of Extinction had been #1, finishing last weekend in 29th spot after eight weekends with $243.3 million. Transformers won’t grow much more than that domestically, so on Saturday, Guardians became the king of summer 2014. It is also destined to become the biggest film of the year soon, as it prepares to take down Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which finished with $259.7 million, and The LEGO Movie, which earned $257.7 million. Overseas, Guardians has earned $237 million, but still has China and Japan to come.

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