Box Office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Amazes With Record $94M U.S. Debut
By Pamela McClintock
Rousing the ailing summer box office to life, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy opened to a record-breaking $94 million in North America, the top August debut of all time and besting every other summer tentpole save for Transformers: Age of Extinction in another sizeable victory for Marvel Studios.
Overseas, Guardians also dazzled, debuting to $66.4 million in 42 markets for a global opening of $160.4 million.
The Marvel and Disney tentpole did far more business than expected after receiving glowing reviews for its originality and an A CinemaScore from audiences. The movie, launching only the second in-house Marvel franchise after the Avengers series, received the widest release ever for an August title (4,080 theaters), and easily surpassed the debut of previous August record-holder The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3 million).
Guardians also secured the best showing of the year so far for an original property, as well as opening ahead of high-profile summer offerings Godzilla ($93.2 million), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6 million) and X-Men: Days of Future Past ($90.8 million). And it’s the third best debut of the year so far after Age of Extinction ($100 million) and fellow Marvel movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million).
Heading into the weekend, the Marvel and Disney tentpole was projected to gross $65 million to $70 million in its domestic debut.
Still, Guardians of the Galaxy won’t be able to rescue the ailing summer overall. The weekend may have been up from last year, but summer revenue is still down by a large margin.
Featuring a rag-tag group of unlikely galactic heroes, Guardians stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace and Bradley Cooper, who voices the role of Rocket the raccoon. Vin Diesel, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro also star.