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‘Guardians’ Still Marvelous at Weekend Box Office

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.

“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.

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