Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Rules Lackluster Labor Day

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy” became the year’s highest grossing U.S. release this weekend, goosing an otherwise drab Labor Day box office

The Marvel film topped the domestic charts for the third time and benefited from crowds hoping to stretch out the waning days of summer, grossing $16.3 million over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday period and pushing its U.S. total to $274.6 million. It will likely end the four-day holiday with $21.2 million in Stateside ticket sales from 3,462 locations.

That easily tops a pair of new wide releases, “November Man” and “As Above, So Below,” which brought in $7.7 million and $8.3 million respectively — modest numbers for modest to low budgeted films with much to be modest about.

It also bested a trip down memory lane, to a different time, when blockbuster films could be based on — gasp! — an original idea, instead of just comic books, toy lines and the flotsam and jetsam of “brand pre-awareness.” Yes, “Ghostbusters.” A 30th anniversary re-release of the paranormal classic is expected to generate $1.6 million this weekend and $2 million for the four days in 784 locations, helping drum up enthusiasm for its forthcoming Blu-ray release, which slides into stores on September 16.

“November Man” will not fashion Pierce Brosnan into a graying avenging angel in the mode of Liam Neeson’s “Taken” films, but it represents a low-cost and minimal risk investment for Relativity Media, the studio that paid $3 million to release the $20 million production Stateside. “November Man” skewed older, with 83% of its audience over the age of 25, and its opening crowd was 55% male.

The film finds the former James Bond playing a retired CIA agent who finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy when he gets pulled out of a pensioner’s life to protect a witness. The sixth-place film will do a $9.8 million of business across 2,776 locations over the four-day holiday weekend.

The economics also favor “As Above, So Below,” despite its fourth place opening. Universal backed the low-budget horror film about treasure hunters in the Paris catacombs for a mere $5 million. It should draw $10.1 million over the four-day holiday in 2,640 venues. It played equally well to women and men, with Hispanics making up the largest share of its audience with 34%. Sixty four percent of ticket buyers were under 25 years old.

Another holdover came in for a second place finish. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” scored an estimated $11.7 million from 3,543 locations and is projected to finish the four day weekend with $15.5 million. That brings its total after four weeks to $166.2 million.

Two other veteran titles, teen weepy “If I Stay” and R-rated comedy “Let’s Be Cops,” captured the third and fifth slots on the U.S. charts with $9.2 million and $8.2 million.

In limited release, Samuel Goldwyn Films and Lifetime Films’ “The Last Days of Robin Hood,” a sort of Errol Flynn-in-winter biopic with Kevin Kline, earned $26,200 in two theaters for a per screen average of $13,100.  Sony Pictures Classics’ World War II drama “The Notebook” picked up $3,154 on two screens, with a per screen average of $1,577.

The end of summer can’t come soon enough for a business that’s been mired in the doldrums, down 15% from last year’s record-breaking popcorn season. There were simply too many blockbuster pretenders and too few “Guardians of the Galaxies” to go around this year.

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  1. trapungevo says:

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  2. Justin Burnell says:

    Reblogged this on THB Files and commented:
    Best movie of the freaking summer!! Forget the newcomer films.

  3. Lex says:

    I heard it has made more money than Winter Soldier. So, I guess the company that made the Winter Soldier must be pretty sad right now. :)

  4. As Above So Below, is a pretty good movie, now read the book it was based off of. LEGION OF DWELLERS:

  5. Optimum says:

    I could’ve done without the snarky commentary on the state of moviemaking, but this was a good article.

  6. Frank Whellington says:

    no mention of CANTINFLAS? WHY?

  7. billy says:

    I’m pretty amazed by the success of TMNT. Before it came out, people thought it might be a total dud. It was called a dated property and of course everyone ragged on and on about the Michael Bay connection. But now this thing has a shot at 200 million in the US and the international will probably be even bigger. It hasn’t even opened in most markets around the world yet. This year has definitely belonged to Marvel and Michael Bay.

    • Turtles Save Manhattan & the Box Office says:

      TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is without a shadow of a doubt the box office triumph of the summer. Ridiculed, marginalized, and overlooked, no one in nerd kingdom thought this would do $100 million and now it’s about to hit $170 million in just 4 weeks and is still rolling along nicely. Add in that it has been doing this against another super hyped Marvel comic book movie, which the American super nerds love to pretend it’s some kind of miracle that it is doing well. But we know the old adage is still true, if you have to tear down other remarkably successful films, TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION( $1,000,000,000+ worldwide gross and counting ), TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES($300 million worldwide and growing), both from Michael Bay, to look good in comparison then there is obviously something Marjorly flawed with Guardians of the Galaxy and I’m not about to waste money on a movie that causes its fans to rant in such fearful, catty, and cowardly tones as I’ve seen posted on here.

      • Matt W says:

        You haven’t seen Guardians? Then how can you possibly know it’s “majorly flawed”? It’s appealing to people for a reason, and not just for being a comic book film, since most people were unfamiliar with the original property. It’s funny, has well-written characters and a killer retro soundtrack, and is just a really fun space adventure. People tear Michael Bay down because they feel insulted by his high-budget but empty offerings; I can’t stand the Transformer films. I do not like the new look of the TMNT movie at all (I was a HUGE Turtles fan growing up), but I am still going to give it a chance. Perhaps you should do likewise

      • Mike Smith says:

        Seriously dude? You’re the one sounding like the defensive super-nerd fanboy here.

      • Jacques Strappe says:

        Turtles is doing well at the box office for sure. But it is a well known cartoon, toy and film franchise with little boys so it should do respectable box office. A Power Rangers film is now in the works because of toy tie-ins, nostalgia and creative bankruptcy in most other studios. Guardians was mostly an unknown Marvel comic and it is setting the world on fire. Michael Bay does make some films that have wide appeal worldwide but not every movie critic can be wrong by marginalizing most of his films including Transformers and Turtles. Even the The Rotten Tomatoes “audience” rating for Turtles (60%) is marginal vs Guardians (95%). 20% of movie critics gave Turtles a passing grade vs 92% for Guardians. If Guardians were released earlier in the summer or late spring it would have surpassed Transformers worldwide box office numbers. Sometimes quality films triumph at the box office over marginal ones. Guardians should continue to grow its lead in both the US and globally over the Turtles since I believe Guardians hasn’t been released in China, Japan or France yet and the buzz surrounding the film will no doubt bring out record crowds there as well. Ninja Turtles should do well with the 10 year crowd overseas which own the action figures. As far as teens and adults, Ninja Turtles is suitable for soup only. Michael Bay does indeed make fast food film garbage with zero nutritional value..

    • HML says:

      Michael Bay may be a kind of weak film version P.T. Barnum who never flagged in finding ways to take people’s $. As P.T. said-“Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.”

  8. Keira says:

    Especially since Guardians of the Galaxy is a brand new film (not based on existing films) with a fresh tone and a sense of humour and campness that’s been missing from superhero movies for a long time.

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