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

     August 30, 2014


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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