Box Office: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Ends Summer As the Biggest Movie of 2014; AS ABOVE SO BELOW Underwhelms as Weekend’s Only New Release

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Labor Day weekend is here, which means that this summer’s box office will soon be put out of its misery.  But before we close the book on a season of disappointment, we should take the time to praise the one unalloyed bright spot of the summer box office: Guardians of the Galaxy.  Last weekend, the Marvel title passed Transformers: Age of Extinction to become the highest grossing release of the season; and today GotG emerged as the biggest film of the entire year.  Guardians earned an estimated $3.8 million on Friday, bringing its domestic total up to $262.1.  That beats the $259.7 million final gross of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the April release that has made a mockery of the term “summer blockbuster” for the last four months.

Hit the jump for this summer’s final Friday top five.

as-above-so-below-posterFollowing its return to the top spot last weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy will remain in first place over the long Labor Day frame with a projected $20 million through Monday.  That means that the Marvel hit both opened and closed August on top of the box office – with the two-week reign of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the middle.

In terms of Labor Day’s new releases, don’t expect any late-summer surprises.  Relativity’s The November Man got a jump on the holiday frame by opening on Wednesday.  The R-rated action pic took in $1.69 million in its first two days in 2,776 locations and an estimated $2.2 million on Friday.  That is a lower first Friday than last weekend’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – a fairly disastrous comparison.  The November Man is also running behind April’s Brick Mansions, Relativity’s last action release.  For the four-day weekend, the film will be lucky to break $10 million.

The only new release that was legitimately ‘new’ on Friday was Universal’s As Above/So Below.  The R-rated horror pic looks like 2014’s latest victim of “found footage” fatigue.  Back in January, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones set a new low for the crazy-profitable franchise with a domestic total of just $32.4 million – down almost 70% from the first PA in 2009.  From 3,000 locations, As Above/So Below earned an estimated $3.2 million on Friday, which is not bad for a film with a reported budget of just $5 million.  But considering it’s the only new title of the weekend (and the first new horror movie since July) – it’s not especially inspiring either.

Clearly, holdovers will rule the last frame of summer.  Along with Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to hold well, and is expected to bring in another $15 million by the end of the Labor Day holiday.  Last weekend’s highest new release, If I Stay, was down 62% on Friday, bringing its ten-day domestic total to $23.2 million.  When the Game Stands Tall had a better hold, down 52% from a week ago, while Frank Miller’s Sin City sequel surprised no one by slipping out of the top ten altogether.

A Dame to Kill For is still playing in almost 3,000 venues, but its Friday estimate was surprisingly close to a movie playing in just a fraction of those theatres.  The 30th Anniversary re-release of Ghostbusters earned an estimated $490,000 from 784 locations yesterday.  The estimate for Sin City 2?  $610,000.

Here’s how Friday’s top five played out:

 Title Friday Total
1.  Guardians of the Galaxy $3,845,000 $262.1
2.  As Above/So Below $3,200,000 $3.2
3.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $2,660,000 $153.3
4.  If I Stay $2,600,000 $23.1
5.  The November Man $2,200,000 $3.89



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  • Manuel Orozco

    Guardians was the best movie of the sumner

    • Steven

      Edge Of Tomorrow all the way.

      • Manuel Orozco

        That’s ok with me

    • MCP

      DoFP and Edge of Tomorrow for me, though still haven’t seen Guardians yet, not sure if it’s my cup of earl gray…

      • Manuel Orozco

        That’s what everyone is saying along with Dawn of the planet of the apes

      • Steven

        Dawn was awesome too.

        Anyone who says its been a bad summer for movies is an idiot. So many great films have been released.

      • Manuel Orozco

        In my opinion last summer was mostly great. This year had more really good movies than great.

    • Max Rockatansky

      LOL! What are you. Fucking 10 yrs old?

      • Manuel Orozco

        I’m actually 21

  • Mixed race rich kid NYC

    I still haven’t seen that shit
    This has been one of the worst year for movie lovers
    I mean real movie lovers, not those people who jerk off watching men in spandex
    I’ve only seen 3 movies this year in theaters: boyhood (great except fir the Obama masturbation scene) the dance of reality (best Movie of the year) and how to train your dragon (I slept through it, boring lame movie, should have babysit my cousins instead of bringing them to watch that shit)
    Oscar season can’t come soon enough and even I know this will be somewhat disappointing
    I’m not looking forwards to any movie this year really
    Maybe mr. Turner because of the director and Birdman
    Whatever happened to Terrence malick movies???
    How long does it take to edit that sh!t? It’s been 2 years!!!!!!

    • Jamie Teller

      Finally, someone recognizes the greatness of The Dance of Reality.

    • Julio Navas

      You suck at trolling,

      • Frank

        I would argue he’s a great troll, since every time he says something, it ends up being one of the most popular comments in the thread.

        People think they are putting trolls in their place by calling them idiots, but it’s exactly what they want….that’s the whole point of trolling! I realize the hypocrisy in this by posting here myself (I’m at least trying to make a point), but if you really want him to feel like an idiot, ignore his comments.

      • Grayden

        “Popular” is a matter of perspective. A troll he is, but a troll is only as good as the reactions they get from the trolled. And his comments go ignored aplenty.

      • Julio Navas

        I get your point, and I´ve seen his comments before, and I always ignore them, no matter how stupid they are, but this one was so obvios. That´s what I was trying to point out.

    • etguild2

      Yawn. Critically, this was a great summer by recent standards (Apes, Guardians, XMen, Edge, Snowpiercer). And there’s been plenty of great indies this year…Only Lovers Left Alive, Hide Your Smiling Faces, Under the Skin, Enemy, Run & Jump, the first half of Nymphomaniac, Blue Ruin, Locke, Grand Budapest. If you’re too lazy to seek them out, that’s your problem.

      • Mixed race rich rich kid NYC

        I’m sorry if I wasn’t interested in a sequel to a prequel of a failed reboot of a 70s franchise, or a 2 hour plus trailer for xmen apocalypse
        I lost interest in seeing snow piercer but I will check it out eventually
        Only lovers left alive didnt interest me
        I’m not a big fan of johansson so I didn’t see under the skin besides it looked pretentious
        I’m not a fan Lars Von try hard
        I will eventually see Locke as the premise sounds interesting
        I’ve actually seen grand budapest hotel in theater but the movie is so forgettable it didnt worth a mention
        I don’t watch movies released directly on directTV (enemy)
        Nobody cares about those other movies

      • etguild2

        So you don’t have interest in Glazer, Von Trier, Villanueve, or Jarmusch, four of the most significant working directors in film today. That’s okay, but there’s a difference between proclaiming 2014 the “death of cinema” and being upset because nothing’s piqued your interest. (if you give “Locke” a shot, do yourself a favor and watch “Blue Ruin”… evokes early Coen Brothers). Regarding: “Enemy,” a lot of films are sent to VOD (like “The Congress”) now because they are deemed too challenging for American audiences, and that’s exactly the type of work cineastes should be supporting.

      • Mixed race rich kid NYC

        Villaneuve and Jarmusch are some of my favorite directors working now
        I just don’t watch movies released directly on Demand.
        You’re right I have no interest in Glazir. Sexy Beast was alright tho

    • Drake

      Pretentious douchebag. Worst year for movie lovers? 2013 was way more rough. This year, we got Cap 2, Edge of Tomorrow, HTTYD 2 (which could very well be the best animated sequel to date), Guardians, Days of Future Past… Other than Amazing Spider-Man 2, this was a really solid year.

  • Star Lord

    Awesome news for Guardians being the highest grossing film domestically of the year. Well deserved over crap movies like Transformers (even if that turd still holds the record for worldwide gross). Hunger Games and The Hobbit will most likely take that title away in a few months, but still incredibly impressive given how this is a new Marvel franchise that nobody has heard of before. It’s basically the Frozen of Marvel movies

  • computerbenefit

    Does Guardians have a chance to go for the billion? At this point I think it has a sure chance of making around 800 million or so, because it hasn’t even opened in a crap ton of territories including China and Japan, that are some really big markets. Man, talk about being the underdog!

    • paul h

      I would guess not, it’s just over 500m ww atm. Still *amazing* performance, maybe for the sequel :D

      • computerbenefit

        At the rate that this one is performing, and hopefully with the possibility of the sequel being at least just as good, I would be really surprised if it doesn’t crack a billion.

      • Manuel Orozco

        Sequel is definitely happening on my watch

      • paul h

        Don’t see how the sequel that’s ~3 years away is gonna affect the box office of the current one…

        It’s not like I don’t want it to break 1b, I just think it’s unlikely.

  • Mezmero

    I thought Cap 2 and GOTG were both good but Guardians was a standout in it’s own way! It exspanded the Marvel universe and did a good job at it but Cap 2 still has big impact and It blew Expendables 3 out the water with action! This turned out to be a good summer for movies and TMNT was a good movie and not just the box office numbers but the film,and I love to see you cry babies call the opposite because I know your not a real fan.

    • Manuel Orozco

      TMNT was good too on par with the other summer movies I have seen ASM 2 HTTYD 2 Transformers age of extinction and Jersey Boys. But GOTG was the best

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  • Vulcan

    DOFP, GOTG, and Apes were my favorite movies of the summer, but I didn’t see very many because it really wasn’t a great summer. Next summer though…

  • NORCALJR

    This summer had less movies, or less movies that I saw, but better overall. XMEN and Edge of Tomorrow were both great, personally Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the only movie that truly hit me in a powerful way, with Gaurdians being the most fun I had all summer….this fall season though, thats were the good movies are hiding.

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