In the days leading up to the release of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy I was reading about how well it was tracking with pre-sold tickets and how it had a good shot of narrowly besting the previous August weekend record holder, The Bourne Ultimatum, which opened to $69.3 million in 2007. Expectations were around the $75 million range. But no one expected Guardians to shatter the record by such a wide margin.
I’m reminded me of the moment in Ridley Scott’s G.I. Jane where Anne Bancroft tells Demi Moore that she never expected her “to do so damn well.” Guardians kicked all sorts of ass at the box office with an incredible estimated $94 million, including $11.2 million from Thursday night showings. It also tallied $66.4 million overseas to give it a three-day haul of $160.4m. With an “A” CinemaScore, positive word-of-mouth and favorable critical reviews, this looks like it could be the biggest domestic hit of the summer. With a graphic that indicated that the Guardians will return Marvel knew that it had something special with what is easily its biggest risk since Iron Man in 2008. The sequel has been announced with writer/director James Gunn and the cast returning and it will makes its way into theaters July 2017.
With the success of Guardians, Marvel Studios is essentially Pixar at this point. They have managed to improve upon (in terms of earnings) with each singular hero release (i.e., Iron Man, Thor, Captain America) and have untapped potential with Galaxy‘s space opera headlined by an unproven lead. Now all we need is for Marvel to finally unleash standalone movie properties with a female hero and ethnic hero, respectively (Black Widow and Black Panther, anyone?).
Speaking of Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy fell to second with $18.2 million. With such a monster opening the rest of the top ten was quiet by comparison. The only other wide release for the weekend, the James Brown biopic Get On Up, opened with $14 million. That was a better draw than Clint Eastwood’s pedestrian Jersey Boys, a musical with one of the tamest R ratings in recent memory (what’s a few F-bombs between Italians from Jersey – am I right?). Budgeted at $30 million, Tate Taylor’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Help should be able to pull in the adult audience, who has a limited number of options to seek out in the market, at least in major release, for them to enjoy.
Outside the top three, Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules had a Herculean dip in attendance, losing 64% of its opening weekend viewership to finish with $10.7 million. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is getting closer to a $200 million domestic mark after a $8.7m weekend. And so it went for Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes. The Michael Douglas/Diane Keaton comedy is a swing and miss for Reiner with only $10.4 million thus far. But I’m sure it is a hit with AARP-aged moviegoers. Other things of note: Transformers: Age of Extinction is the latest film to cross $1 billion earnings worldwide. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood continues to do stellar business in limited release, earning another $2.5 million for a running total of $7.5m so far. This is IFC Films’ third best performing movie in the company’s history behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Y Tu Mama Tambien.
Top 10 estimates below.
01. Guardians of the Galaxy – $94 Million
02. Lucy – $18.2 Million ($79.5 mil)
03. Get On Up – $14 Million
04. Hercules (2014) – $10.7 Million ($52.3 mil)
05. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $8.7 Million ($189.3 mil)
06. Planes: Fire & Rescue – $6.4 Million ($47.5 mil)
07. The Purge: Anarchy – $5.5 Million ($62.9 mil)
08. Sex Tape – $3.5 Million ($33.9 mil)
09. And So It Goes – $3.34 Million ($10.4 mil)
10. A Most Wanted Man – $3.32 Million ($7.05 mil)