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Marvel to the Rescue as ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Dominates Friday Box Office

Marvel to the Rescue as 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Dominates Friday Box Office

What would the disappointing 2014 be without Marvel? After weekend figures come in, “Guardians of the Galaxy” joins the six films to open over $90 million this year — four of which come from Marvel.

In a summer where none of the new releases will rank among the top 25 openers of all time — even using raw numbers, all years between 2004 and 2013 provided at least one — Marvel has made the difference between a weak summer and a disastrous one.

“Guardians” grossed $37.8 million (including a year-best Thursday figure of over $11 million), making it the third best initial figure of 2014 (behind “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “Godzilla”). More significantly, it is performing initially on a par with more established recent Marvel franchises over the last two years, even though this is the start of a series rather than a sequel or reboot. And, unusually, it comes in August, when studios typically position lesser openers.

The great “Guardians” number brought the total for the Top 10 to $60 million, a big jump over $38 million last year. But it masks a continuing weakness the rest of the way, with mostly mediocre numbers for the remaining top nine. Below the top gross, these films came in with $22 million, down from $28 million for the same nine in 2013.

The week’s other new wide release, “Get On Up” (Universal) managed to place third for the day with $5 million, lagging behind last year’s “42” (also starring Chadwick Boseman) and 2005’s “Ray” among African-American biopics. The film, which features one of the most acclaimed lead performances of the year, is going to need strong word of mouth to sustain any sort of attention ahead.

At number two, “Lucy” (also Universal), last weekend’s number one opener at $17.1 million, fell sharply to $5.5 million — (second week drops being one of the ongoing stories of the summer). Similarly, “Hercules,” in fourth place, with $3.151 million, saw a huge drop from its $11.1 last Friday.

The rest of the holdovers at least managed to fall less than 50-percent. Number five, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox), did $2.4 million to continue its solid run, with numbers six and seven “The Purge: Anarchy” (Universal) and “Planes: Fire and Rescue” (Buena Vista) both grossing about $1.8 million. “Sex Tape” (Sony) placed eighth with $1.1 million.

Two films targeted for older audiences round out the Top 10. Rob Reiner’s “And So It Goes” (Clarius) fell only about a third from its so-so opening with $930,000, while number 10 “A Most Wanted Man” (Roadside Attractions) landed an estimated $840,000 as its theater count was doubled to 729.

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Anne Thompson

Iron Man was a damned good movie–I rewatched it recently and it's fabulous. Guardians of the Galaxy is comparably good. I was agreeably surprised by how well Thor and Captain America served as origin myths. Joss Whedon brought all the established Marvel superheroes together in The Avengers, understanding who they were–that was his great contribution. The Captain America sequel was much better than Iron Man 2 or 3. So Guardians of the Galaxy is another origin myth like Iron Man that is less well known to the general public that is searching for something different than the pablum the studios are feeding them. The studios are looking at Marvel with envy but I doubt they can replicate its success because it's based on one powerful obsessed producer– Kevin Feige– controlling the movies, growing them organically and making sure they fit inside the Marvel universe. They are aimed at pleasing audiences without abandoning their rich DNA. (Not unlike John Lasseter at Pixar.) Note Edgar Wright's departure on Ant Man. Compare and contrast with studio efforts on Marvel's X-Men, Spider-Man and most notably, Warners DC output.


Get On Up's Cinemascore is an A, not a C+.


guardians did so well because it looked like the studios weren't trying to screw us again with the same thing we've seen a million times before. kind of like how mama and the conjuring did so well after two years worth of the studios forcing micro budget found footage horror films on us. the studios think we're children who don't know how to think outside the box (or maybe they're children who don't know how to spend their money anymore and so they can't or don't know how to think outside of the box) but obviously guardian's being embraced by the masses proves there's a hunger out there for originality. whatever, it's still going to take years to get to a point where we get big budget entertainment that feels fresh on a more frequent basis in the commercial space. i'm not holding my breath, but i will definitely see guardians again and get it on bluray when it's released. way better than avengers, which was only so so, but better than the rest of the garbage out there.

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