Continuing to salvage the late summer box office, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is looking like the clear winner of the Labor Day weekend.
The Marvel-Disney tentpole grossed $3.5 million on Friday — its 29th day of release — for a projected $19 million weekend at the U.S. box office.
That matched Pierce Brosnan’s actioner “The November Man” in its third day for Relativity and Universal’s found-footage thriller “As Above, So Below” with $3.2 million on its opening day.
“November Man” was performing above recent forecasts and was projected to gross around $15 million for the four-day weekend, followed by the fourth weekend of Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” at about $13 millon.
“As Above” is likely to finish the frame at the upper end of projections with $11 million, edging out Fox’s third weekend of “Let’s Be Cops” at about $10.4 million and Warner’s second weekend of weeper “If I Stay.”
“Guardians” should wind up on Labor Day with $277 million domestically — proving to be a much-needed tonic for a summer box office that will still finish 15% below last year. It’s already become the top domestic grosser of the year, eclipsing Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” at $259 million.
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“Guardians” has shown serious staying power and will decline only 17% on a Friday-Sunday basis this weekend. It joins “Captain America 2,” “Ride Along” and “Lego” as the only films to top three weekends this year; “Lego” won four times.
The firepower for “Guardians” virtually assures that it will cross the $300 million domestic mark in the next few weeks — a key milestone, given that 2014 would have otherwise been the first year since 2000 to not have a $300 million grosser. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was the top performer that year with $260 million.
“The November Man” is produced by Brosnan’s Irish Dreamtime and Das Films in association with the Solution Entertainment Group, Palmstar Media Capital and Merced Media Partners. Relativity paid $3 million for the film, as part of its model for low-risk, moderately budgeted films and timed the release to reach an older audience with some affection for Brosnan.
“As Above, So Below” is also a low-risk title with a budget of $5 million. It represents the first Legendary title released via its distribution deal with Universal.
Sony’s re-release of “Ghostbusters,” aimed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of its opening, showed life with $1 million at 784 locations Friday and appears headed for $3.8 million over the weekend.
The original “Ghostbusters” was a smash hit in 1984 with $238 million — although its opening weekend was a modest $13.6 million. It won the weekend nine times, including in its 13th weekend.