“Guardians of the Galaxy” is in a box office universe of its own.
Marvel-Disney’s sci-fi actioner opened to $37.8 million Stateside on Friday. It looks to sky-rocket to $92 million-plus this weekend, which would crush the record for August’s top debut, currently held by “The Bourne Ultimatum’s” $69.3 million launch in 2007. With the pic originally tracking for $65 million, this showing was far from unexpected.
The blockbuster also has the widest August opening in history, playing in 4,080 theaters (about 3,200 in 3D).
Only five movies have opened above $90 million this year — Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” with $100 million, Marvel-Disney’s “Captain America: The Winter soldier” with $95 million, Warner-Legendary’s “Godzilla” with $93 million, Sony’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ with $91.6 million, and Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” with $90.8 million.
“Guardians” had the highest Thursday opening of the year earlier this week with $11.2 million, overtaking the “Captain America” sequel, which earned $10.2 million in April.
The movie has already reeled in $11 million overseas, including $3.5 million in Russia, $2.3 million in the U.K. and Ireland, and $1.6 million from a handful of South and Central American countries.
The intergalactic pic about a rag-tag group of heroes, which cost $170 million to produce, is a hit with both critics and audiences, earning 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore.
It’s directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper (the voice of Rocket) and Vin Diesel (the voice of Groot). A sequel has already been slated for July 28, 2017.
Following the “Avengers” bump, “Guardians” is continuing Marvel’s stellar track record of boffo openings. Marvel pics have collectively grossed $6.3 billion since 2008’s “Iron Man,” making it the most successful film franchise after “Harry Potter.” “Guardians” will hopefully lift the summer box office, which is down more than 20% from 2013.
Another newcomer, Universal Pictures’ “Get on Up,” debuted to $4.9 million. The James Brown biopic couldn’t outsmart “Lucy,” landing in third place after the Scarlett Johansson-starrer. “Get on Up” looks to gross an estimated $14.7 million this weekend.
The movie about the “Godfather of Soul” is directed by Tate Taylor and stars Chadwick Boseman.
Holdovers rounded out the top five. After coming in first last weekend, Universal’s “Lucy” was runner-up on Friday with $5.5 million. The femme-powered vehicle stands to earn $18.3 million by Sunday, which would mark a 58% drop in its second week.
Paramount’s “Hercules” was slayed by “Lucy” for the second weekend in a row, landing in fourth place with $3.2 million. The pic could earn $10.6 million this weekend, a 64% decline.
Fox’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” cracked the top five with $2.4 million. It will likely finish the weekend with $8.6 million, a 49% drop. If estimates hold, the sequel will have grossed $189.2 million by Sunday.