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Box Office: 'Guardians' Leading Sluggish Labor Day Weekend, Becomes No. 1 Film of Year

Box Office: 'Guardians' Leading Sluggish Labor Day Weekend, Becomes No. 1 Film of Year

By Pamela McClintock

James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy has become the No. 1 film of the year to date at the North American box office, flying by fellow Marvel Studios superhero film Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The quirky tentpole, made by Marvel and Disney, took in an estimated $3.8 million on Friday, pushing its domestic total to $262.1 million (Winter Soldier earned $259.8 million). Globally, it has earned north of $500 million.

Guardians will easily rule the Labor Day holiday despite being in its fifth weekend. The movie has pulled off the biggest surprise in memory with its record-breaking performance, and has helped to shore up the ailing 2014 summer box office, although revenue is still down a whopping 15 percent from last year.

New Labor Day weekend entries The November Man and As Above, So Below are doing only modest business so far and are likely to come in behind Guardians, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and If I Stay for the four-day holiday weekend.

From Legendary Entertainment, As Above, So Below earned $3.2 million Friday, placing No. 3 Guardians and TMNT. The micro-budgeted found-footage film is hoping for a four-day debut of 11.3 million, but could lose the No. 3 spot to If I Stay.

Costing $5 million to make, the psychological thriller follows a group of explorers that discover dark forces when they dive into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris. Universal is releasing the film, which targeted younger consumers with an aggressive digital campaign.

From director Roger Donaldson and starring Pierce Brosnan in a James Bond-like role, The November Man is going after adults and opened Wednesday to get a jump on the action. It’s expected to gross $9.8 million for the four days for a six-day debut somewhere in the $11.5 million range. It continues to hold at No. 5.

The $20 million-plus movie, which follows an ex-CIA agent (Brosnan) who is brought back for one more mission and finds himself pitted against his former pupil, was made by The Solution Entertainment Group, Palmstar Media Capital and Merced Media Partners. Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey also star in November Man, which Relativity acquired for $3 million.

Poor reviews could be hurting November Man, although audiences liked it better, giving it a B+ CinemaScore. As Above, So Below earned a withering C- CinemaScore.

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