Friday Box Office: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Set to Smash August Record

     August 2, 2014


Star Lord be praised!  After the worst July in more than a decade, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is breathing life back into this summer’s box office.  The film got off to a huge start on Thursday night, taking in $11.2 million from early previews.  That beats the $10.2 million that Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned from its Thursday screenings (also starting at 7 p.m.) back in April.  Captain America 2 went on to claim $36.9 million on Friday and an opening weekend of $95 million.  Based on Friday’s estimate, Guardians of the Galaxy could be headed even higher.  Disney is reporting that Guardians earned $37.8 million from 4,080 locations on its opening day.  That’s the third-highest single day of 2014 (behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and Godzilla) and it suggests an opening weekend of around $95 million.  Hit the jump for details and Friday’s top five.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-teaser-posterIf you’ve been paying attention to this summer’s box office you know that it’s been a little lackluster.  No film has earned more than $250 million at the domestic box office (compared to four last summer) and only one title (Transformers 4) opened above $100 million. July is typically the most lucrative month of the summer, but in 2014 total revenue for the month failed to pass $1 billion for the first time since 2002.  The year’s top two films are still Captain America 2 and The LEGO Movie, both released before the summer even started.

August is not usually the go-to month for box office blockbusters.  It’s more typically the home of sleeper hits like The Help and District 9.  But August has also hosted its share of franchise titles, including 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, which still holds the record for top August opening weekend with $69.2 million.  Without a doubt that record now belongs to Guardians of the Galaxy.  The only question is how high it will go.  Based on its Thursday night and Friday estimates, the film should end up between $93 and $96 million: just a bit above where Godzilla hit back in May.  Of course, Guardians has better word of mouth and reviews than Godzilla — not to mention the whole Avengers factor.

Though it’s more likely that Guardians will open just below $100 million, the film still has a chance to reach triple digits.  That would be an incredible feat for an ‘original’ film.  In fact, only four non-sequel titles in history have hit that mark, including Iron Man and 2002’s Spider-Man.  Marvel’s The Avengers also opened above $100 million (in fact, it’s the only film to open above $200 million), but as the culmination of Marvel’s Phase One plotting, it’s hard to argue that the film is an “original.”  Of course by that measure, Guardians of the Galaxy is not entirely original either.  It was always clear that the film had built-in box office potential, but we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see whether the fabled ‘Avengers-bump’ can carry it over $100 million.  Check back tomorrow for complete details.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Guardians of the Galaxy $37,800,000 $37.8
2.  Lucy $5,500,000 $66.7
3.  Get On Up $5,000,000 $5
4.  Hercules $3,151,000 $44.8
5.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes $2,425,000 $183
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