Needless to say, Guardians of the Galaxy's number one box was helped with a screen release of 4,080 theaters. Numbers are estimated, of course, since the weekend's totals won't end until 11:59 PM tonight. But Chris Pratt's misfit crew of assassins, thugs, and gunslingers blew past the competition.
Variety's Brent Lang is reporting that Guardians’ new box office August record beat last week's Lucy and Hercules with a lot of room to spare. Scarlett Johansson's Lucy fell 57%, making only $18.3 million, while Dwayne Johnson's Hercules dropped 50% and raked a mere in $10.7 million.
Even though general movie ticket sales are down nearly 20% from last summer, the fall for Lucy and Hercules is a huge stumble. Guardians’ jump to first from the gate means other studios will have pay a much larger press budget to compete.
Lang notes that the numbers aren't even a global total since the film hasn't even opened in China, Australia, France, and Spain. James Gunn's hit is already topping the Avengers films thanks to efforts by Walt Disney Studio's executive vice president of theatrical distribution, Dave Hollis.
At over $20 million past the anticipated $70 million, Hollis feels, "It's a testament to the momentum of the brand overall and all of the pieces just coming together in the right way."
“We were able to heat things up to white hot levels and use those final days as a call to arms" by keeping the 40% of the marketing budget for the week leading up to the premiere.
Due to what Imax Entertainment’s Greg Foster called a non-"slick Hollywood-produced wrap everything up in bow kind of film," Guardians managed to rake in $17 million from Imax alone. Nearly 25% of the U.S. gross came from the 3D version while $7.5 million came from large-screen premium formats.
"The big story was an unlikely group of space cowboys, who pulverized expectations and became one of the surprise breakout hits in a summer that’s been mostly fizzle and little sizzle."
The film's going to amass a large return for Marvel Studio’s $6.3 billion success since 2008's Iron Man. If a studio wants a success, invest in Marvel's blueprint since they're consistently making money. Disney's definitely profiting since purchasing Marvel Studios.
Lang observes that Marvel's ability of "tapping into the zeitgeist is unrivaled by all save Pixar" means the studio tends to nearly double their returns from the first films to the second. Thor: The Dark World (2013) made 44% more than the original Thor (2011) at $644.8 million and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) earned a whopping 92% return over Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) at $713.2 million. The Winter Soldier is still finishing its theater run since it opened April 4 of this year.
Even mega hits Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2011) were dwarfed by Iron Man 3 (2013), which managed to nearly double the previous two at a whopping final $1.2 billion. And that's not even mentioning The Avengers $1.5 billion sales, which made over $895.2 million internationally and $623.3 million domestic
So who watched the movie? Records indicate 59% were adults, 56% of the audience identified as male, and 26% were families. The largest sector of adults was ages 26-34, which matches the general audience appeal for Marvel and Avengers films. The lack of female audience showing up is a surprise, but the marketing’s aim for males definitely impacted the connection.
But there's been some family concern since Galaxy's rated PG-13. Greenville Online's Angie Campbell cautions adults to hold back kids under the recommended ages things due to "more adult themes in Guardians than in any other Marvel film I can remember."
What are those more adult themes? Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) obscene hand gestures, mild profanity, and some sexual innuendo. However the lack of gore lends to less violence. If a child can handle Star Wars, then Guardians of the Galaxy should be safe.