August 2, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Guardians” Become Heroes of the Multiplex


It’s not as though expectations for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) were low–at the projected $70-75M level, it would have outgrossed the opening weekends of the original Captain America, Thor and Amazing Spider-Man.  But the movie blasted past those predictions with the force of an Infinity Stone, boasting a Friday reported at Deadline and elsewhere as $35M+ and possibly as high as $40M (including $11.2M from Thursday night screenings).  That could give it the 2d biggest box office day of any movie this year, behind only the $41.9M for Transformers: Age of Extinction.  That movie dropped 23% on Saturday, and if Guardians can do better (other blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell only 6% on their 2d days), it has a shot at the biggest opening weekend of the year, cracking Transformers‘ (somewhat-disputed) $100M mark.  As it is, the previous August opening record ($69.3M for The Bourne Ultimatum) will be obliterated by Sunday. Guardians will have a gradual international rollout, so those numbers will accumulate over the next several weeks, but it’s safe to say that those rooting for Marvel/Disney to stumble as it continues to extend its global hegemony over the box office and pop culture will have to wait for another day.

The counterprogramming GET ON UP (Universal) is performing in line with expectations at $5-6M on Friday for a $15-16M weekend, but that’s considerably lower than similar August openings like The Help ($26M) and The Butler ($24.6M).  Get On Up will have to hope for the kind of extended runs those dramas had through the rest of the summer.

With Guardians drawing massive all-quadrant interest, last week’s openings took a hit.  LUCY (Universal) was at $5.4M for the day, down almost 70% from last Friday, and it will probably have a 60% weekend drop to $17M.  HERCULES (Paramount/MGM) was even worse, down 73% from last Friday to $3M, and it may not get past $10M for the weekend.  Only the elderly-skewing AND SO IT GOES (Clarius) was relatively immune, down just 30% to a still-puny $950K, with a $3M weekend ahead.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) led the longer running titles, down about 50% from last Friday to $2.4M for a $8-9M weekend.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."