In another victory for Marvel Studios, James Gunn's ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ opens to a record-breaking $94.3 million in North America, the top August debut of all time.
In another sizeable victory for Marvel Studios, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy opened to a record-breaking $94.3 million in North America, the top August debut of all time and besting every other summer tentpole save for Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Overseas, Guardians of the Galaxy also exceeded estimates, earning $67.4 for a worldwide debut of $161.7 million. The 3D movie opened number one in its first 42 markets, and saw big numbers in Russia ($13 million), the U.K. ($10.8 million), Mexico ($6.5 million) and Brazil ($5.4 million).
Guardians secured the best showing of the year so far for an original property, as well as coming in ahead of high-profile summer franchise installments Godzilla ($93.2 million), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6 million) and X-Men: Days of Future Past ($90.8 million). And it's the third best debut of the year so far after Age of Extinction ($100 million) and fellow Marvel movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million).
Hype around Guardians has been so high that Marvel and Disney have already announced plans for a July 28, 2017 sequel, with Gunn returning to direct. Featuring a rag-tag group of unlikely galactic heroes, Guardians stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace and Bradley Cooper, who voices the role of Rocket the raccoon. Vin Diesel, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro also star. The film cost $170 million to produce, not accounting for marketing costs.
Still, Guardians of the Galaxy won't be able to rescue the ailing summer overall in North America. Domestic revenue was up nearly 35 percent from the same frame last year -- the first time it has been up in weeks -- but the summer is still down by a large margin.
Paramount's Age of Extinction also made headlines Sunday in becoming the first movie of 2014 to hit $1 billion in global ticket sales, thanks to earning more than $300 million in China. Among other milestones, Godzilla crossed $500 million worldwide, while 22 Jump Street laughed its way past $100 million internationally for a worldwide total of nearly $290 million.
Universal’s Lucy, came in second place, falling a respectable 58 percent to $18.2 million for a domestic total of $79.6 million.
This weekend's other new wide offering, James Brown biopic Get On Up, placed third with an $14 million debut. The movie was directed by The Help director Tate Taylor, and stars Chadwick Boseman as the legendary godfather of soul. Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment produced the $30 million film with Mick Jagger.
Paramount and MGM's Hercules continued to lag, coming in fourth place in its second outing with $10.7 million for a domestic total of $52.3 million. Overseas, the Dwayne Johnson movie took in $14.2 million from 35 markets to jump the $100 million mark worldwide, ending the weekend with a total of $108.8 million.
Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes rounded out the top five, grossing $8.7 million for a domestic total of $189.3 million. Internationally, the sequel grossed $47.5 million from 70 markets for a foreign total of $260 million and worldwide haul of $449.3 million.
Animated family sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue came in sixth place, taking in $6.4 million for a domestic total of $47.2 million. Internationally, the Disney film has made $30 million for a worldwide total of $77.2 million.
Universal's horror entry The Purge: Anarchy placed seventh with $5.6 million for a total $63 million. The movie, which cost just $9 million to make, was produced by Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes.
Sony’s R-rated Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, came in eighth place over its third weekend at the North American box office with $3.6 million, bringing the film’s domestic total to $33.9 million.
Rob Reiner's romantic comedy And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, made $3.34 million over its sophomore weekend for a ninth place finish and domestic total of $10.5 million. The film, with a production budget of $30 million, is being distributed by Clarius Entertainment.
Rounding up the list at number 10 is Roadside Attractions’ spy thriller A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman opposite Rachel McAdams. The movie, based on the John le Carre book of the same name, made $3.32 million for a total of $7.1 million.
Box office numbers were obtained on boxofficemojo.com.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.