Box Office: ‘Guardians’ Becomes Year’s Top Film, Leads Labor Day Weekend

Leave it to a ragtag band of space crusaders to save the Labor Day weekend box office.

Guardians of the Galaxy” has edged out newcomers “The November Man” and “As Above, So Below” to once again top the domestic box office, earning $3.8 million on Friday in its fifth frame. The intergalactic pic has beat out fellow Marvel superhero film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” to become the highest grossing film of the year to date Stateside.

The Marvel-Disney blockbuster is headed for a $20.5 million weekend, which would mark a 9% spike and raise its impressive cume to $278.8 million.

“As Above, So Below” surprised with a second-place finish on Friday, but will likely end up in fourth place behind “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “If I Stay” by Monday — a repeat of last weekend.

This is the third win for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which recently crossed the $500 million mark worldwide and passed “Transformers: Age of Extinction” as the highest-grossing movie of the summer in the U.S. The pic helped salvage the late summer box office, which is down an overall 15% from last season’s record-breaking performance.

Pierce Brosnan’s “November Man” came in a distant fifth on Friday with $2.2 million and is headed for sixth place by weekend’s end. Relativity’s actioner, which opened to a soft $862,000 million on Wednesday, stands to earn an estimated $9.8 million this holiday weekend, behind “As Above, So Below” and “Let’s Be Cops.”

Brosnan stars as an ex-CIA agent who returns from retirement for one final mission: to protect a witness, played by Olga Kurylenko. The espionage thriller targets — but failed to draw — the same older audience that flocked to Liam Neeson’s “Taken” films.

Relativity paid $3 million for the $20 million production as part of its model for low-risk films.

This weekend’s other new wide release, “As Above, So Below,” grossed $3.2 million on Friday. The first film from Universal’s distribution pact with Legendary, “As Above, So Below” will likely earn around $11.3 million this long weekend. The thriller about archaeologists in search of a lost treasure in the Paris catacombs cost a mere $5 million to produce.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is still kicking in its fourth frame. The anthropomorphic, crime-fighting reptiles made an estimated $2.7 million on Friday. It’s en route for $14.8 million (raising its total domestic haul to $165.5 million), which would mark a 19% drop.

YA tearjerker “If I Stay” was in fourth place on Friday with $2.6 million, but will reclaim last weekend’s third place finish by Labor Day. The Warner Bros. drama is headed for $11.8 million this weekend, which would barely edge out “As Above, So Below.”

“Let’s Be Cops” rounded out the top five with $2 million. The Fox comedy will likely make north of $10 million by Monday.

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