Guardians of the Galaxy, from Marvel exceeded all expectations this weekend and set a record for an August opening with an estimated $94 million, well ahead of the pre-release expectations of $65-80 million. It crushed all other movies, including Lucy ($18 million) featuring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, as well as Get On Up ($14 million), the (Very entertaining) James Brown bio pic. In fact, the combined box office grosses for the next 9 biggest movies this past weekend are less than what the Sci-fi/Superhero movie took in. The opening set a record for August, easily besting The Bourne Ultimatum, which opened with $69.3 million back in 2007.
The third biggest opening of the year, behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Solider (and only just behind Captain America, which opened with $95 million), is made even more impressive when you consider that, despite being part of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, this movie did not feature any well-known characters, outside of your local comic shop, and was not a sequel. This opening should encourage Marvel to delve deeper into their catalog of characters and take more chances, like next year’s Ant-Man, which will also have a comedic tone.
The film had little direct competition over the weekend though, with Get On Up the only other opening, and both Lucy and Hercules opened to mix reviews. The Guardians could see steep declines as it faces competition from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Expendables 3 in the coming weeks. But strong word of mouth and great reviews can only help the sci-fi flick as the summer continues.
The biggest loser in all of this is Warner Brothers, who are still having trouble developing any of their DC comic holdings besides Batman with any regular success at movie theatres. The first sequel to last year’s Man of Steel, will reach theatres in 2016. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be the first attempt of Warner Brothers to bring together their two biggest properties, while introducing several other characters (Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman) It will open on May 6, which is the same day Disney scheduled the third Captain America movie to open.