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Weekend Box Office: Guardians of the Galaxy Blasts Into August Record Books

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By Chris Kavan - 08/03/14 at 10:41 PM CT

The 2014 summer movie season needed a shot and the arm, and it came in a big way thanks to motley crew of heroes. The first weekend in August was up a mighty 40% compared to last, and helps reverse a trend in the slumping summer. Considering there are still some pretty big films yet to debut this month, this could be a month for the record books itself - but we'll take things one week at a time, but what a way to start things off.


Marvel has had an excellent track record at the box office ever since Iron Man opened back in 2008. Even so, Guardians of the Galaxy looked a bit, well, odd - this is story about a group that has only been around since Iron Man came out - 2008 - nowhere near the established brand of heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man or Captain America. But even without the name recognition, the hype machine was put into overdrive - and the more things were pumped up, the better things looked. Glowing reviews (over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes) also helped, as Guardians opened to a spectacular $94 million. That obliterated the previous August best opening set by The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3 million) back in 2007. It was the third-highest opening of the year behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($100 million) and another Marvel property Captain America: The Winter Soldier at $95 million. It topped Thor: The Dark World ($85.7) as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past ($90.8 million). Audiences felt just as good about the movie as critic, awarding it an "A" Cinemascore. Guardians also became Marvel's best film for females - 44% (the previous high was The Avengers with 40%) and drew 55% of its audience from the over 25 crowd. It also set an August record with IMAX - taking in $11.7 million in that format - easily topping Elysium's $4.7 million. 3D screens accounted for 45% of the grosses as well. Given the huge response, and if Guardians follows a similar path to Winter Solider, the film could be looking a total in the $250 range - and could even make a run for the highest-grossing movie of the year (which Winter Solider currently holds at $258.9 million). One thing is for certain, the studio certainly was right in giving the sequel an early green light - as this franchise is off to a strong start.


Last week's previous champion, Lucy, dropped to second place with $18.2 million. That's a pretty steep 58% drop - but given the decidedly mixed audience reaction, as well as the heavy competition from Guardians of the Galaxy, that drop could have been a lot bigger. The movie currently stands at $79.5 million (nearly double its $40 million budget) and it should have no problem crossing at least the $100 million mark by the time it ends its run.


As the only counter-programming offer to all the action films currently in theaters, the James Brown biopic Get On Up got off to an OK start with a $14 million opening. That opened just above Jersey Boys ($13.3 million) but for star Chadwick Boseman, it was half of what 42 opened with ($27.5 million). It was also a step down for director Tate Taylor, as The Help opened to $37.5 million (over five days). The best news for Get On Up is that it also received an excellent "A" Cinemascore and has also played well with critics. The films should at least be able to top the $50 million mark in the coming weeks.


Hercules, the Dwayne Johnson-helmed action film, took a 64% hit in its second week out, taking in $10.7 million. That was enough for the film to cross the $50 million mark, as it now stands at $52.3 million. The films will have to rely on international help, as it isn't going to make back its $100 million budget domestically. As it stands now, the film is probably going to wind up just about the $75 million mark - but not much else.


The ape-tastic sequel continued to draw ever-closer to the $200 million mark. Dropping 48% in its fourth week, Dawn took in $8.7 million and now stands at $189.3 million. It could take a few more weeks, but there is no doubt it will reach the milestone mark before the summer is out.

Outside the top five: The final film featuring late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in the lead, A Most Wanted Man, doubled its theaters count (to 729 theaters) and rose 23% - remaining in the 10th place position - with a $3.32 million take and now stands at just over $7 million and is likely looking at further expansion.

Richard Linklater's Boyhood also continued to expand, jumping into 204 more theaters (311 total) and jumping up 43% - from 14th to 11th place, taking in $2.5 million for a new total of $7.5 million.

In the international market, Transformers: Age of Extinction joined the $1 billion club - as it has taking in $763.8 million worldwide (10th all time). It is likely to rise to at least $1.1 billion

With Guardians of the Galaxy opening strong, the coming weeks should hopefully propel August further in the record books. Next up will be the rebooted big-screen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as the effects-heavy Into the Storm, along with the all-star version of Step-Up: All In and finally the quiet romance, The Hundred-Foot Journey (with Helen Mirren and Om Puri). We'll see how the Guardians stack up against such competition.


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