Late Friday afternoon estimates placed the new superhero tentpole’s debut at approximately $95 million, the best ever for the month of August, with Friday estimates ranging from $33 million to $40 million.
“Guardians” had originally been pegged to open in the $70 million range.
Disney downplayed its estimates Friday afternoon with a range of $85 million to $95 million but if the intergalactic pic can hit the nine-figure mark, it would be only the second time in 2014 following Paramount’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” doing so at the end of June. The $100 million mark has been crossed a total of 27 times.
Four other titles have opened above $90 million in 2014 — 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.
Directed by James Gunn, “Guardians” may serve to start lifting the overall box office out of a year-to-year slump that has left the 2014 total an eye-opening 20% behind 2013’s take at the same point.
“Guardians” debuted to the highest Thursday opening of the year with $11.2 million and will demolish the record for top August debut, currently held by “The Bourne Ultimatum” at $69.3 million.
“Guardians” stars Pratt as the Star Lord along with Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace and Bradley Cooper, who voices the wisecracking Rocket Racoon.
Universal Pictures’ James Brown biopic “Get on Up” was heading for a $5.5 million Friday and a $16 million opening weekend. Universal’s second weekend of “Lucy” looked likely to finish second with about $19 million, declining 57% from its surprisingly strong opening. Friday estimates placed the Scarlett Johannson actioner at $5.7 million.