It’s good news for Marvel and Disney as their "Guardians of the Galaxy" tops the grosses for Friday. With a little under $4 million, it has reached a $262 million total, besting "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" as 2014’s top domestic performer so far. And testifying not only to its strength but also the weakness of the rest of the field, it did so in its fifth week.
But the day was sharply down from the Friday of Labor Day weekend last year, as the Top Ten grossed about $20 million, down from $26 million in 2013. That gap will be less for full three and four-day totals, though, since last year saw an almost $9 million opening day for "One Direction: This Is Us," which then fell sharply over the holiday. "Guardians" for four days will likely actually outgross what that concert film did for a similar period last year.
Still, the tepid numbers seem like a fitting conclusion for a lackluster summer which saw grosses down a startling 15%. Two new films–both lower budget so at least they have a chance of breaking even–look like they will do little better than $10 million for their four-day totals, with little expectation of adding significantly more when the post-holiday slump arrives. Placing second for the day, but certain to drop in position is "As Above ,So Below," the latest entry from low-budget horror producer Jason Blum with $3.2 million (including Thursday evening shows). Relativity’s Pierce Brosnan spy-thriller "The November Man," which they acquired for a reported $3 million-plus, took only fifth place for the day with $2.2 milion after opening early on Wednesday.
In between those two and likely leaping over "As Above" when the rest of the weekend’s count is in are "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount) and "If I Stay" (Warner Bros.), both between $2.6 and 2.7 million to place third and fourth respectively. "Stay" dropped a steep 62% from its OK opening, but should stabilize the rest of the holiday.
The rest of the Top Ten includes three films that are holding well with good word of mouth. "Let’s Be Cops" (20th Century Fox) was sixth at just over $2 million, "The Giver" (Weinstein) eighth at $1.3 million and "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (Buena Vista) ninth a little over $1.1 million. All three fell around 30-40% from last Friday.
The other two slots were taken by "When the Game Stands Tall" (Sony) in seventh at $1.4 million, down a bit more than half from its opening figure last week, and "The Expendables 3" (Lionsgate) in tenth with about $850,000.