Can Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Make Box Office History?
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy opens in over 4,000 theaters in North America this weekend, and many believe James Gunn's picture has what it takes to make box office history. Indeed, Guardians of the Galaxy has already claimed a small stake in history - it's 4,080 theater showing is the widest ever for an August release - however it's box office revenue that ultimately decides a movie's success and most pundits believe that this is an area in which Marvel's latest release has nothing to fear.
***Updates at the bottom of the page***
In August of 2007, The Bourne Ultimatum grossed $69.2 million on it's opening weekend, breaking the record for a domestic August release in the process. Seven years on, that record has not been beaten. But that could be about to change if Guardians of the Galaxy can convert pre-release buzz into ticket sales this weekend. Some critics doubted the appeal of a Marvel-product that lived outside of the Avengers universe, but ever since the release of the first trailer earlier this year, fans have been 100% behind this project.
That commitment was confirmed today with the announcement that Guardians of the Galaxy had become the highest August pre-seller in Fandango's history. While most box-office trackers have Guardians of the Galaxy down to reach $65 million this weekend, the Fandango results suggest it can do better, with pre-sales outstripping that of February's The Lego Movie (which opened with $69.1m), and even beating the original Captain America ($65.1m) and Thor ($65.7m) movies.
If Guardians of the Galaxy can surpass expectations and bring in a record $70 million this weekend, it will be the clearest sign yet that Marvel's Cinematic Universe is set up to dominate for years to come. In fact, Marvel and Disney have already seen enough to convince them of the Guardians' appeal, announcing a few days ago that a sequel has been pencilled in for a 2017 release date.
But the performance of Guardians of the Galaxy could have wider-reaching implications. With no single movie grossing more than $300m, summer box office revenues are down just over 20% so far this year. A strong performance by Guardians of the Galaxy won't just have Marvel executives smiling, it will also see an entire industry breathing a sigh of relief as they finally see a mass audience getting engaged with a blockbuster movie.
Box Office trackers are revising upwards their forecast for Guardians of the Galaxy's opening weekend figures after James Gunn's movie posted the largest pre-opening figures of 2014 so far. Despite some theaters showing the wrong movie Thursday night's screenings of Guardians recorded revenues of $11.2m, that's more than the $10.9m taken by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which eventually recorded a massive opening weekend figure of $95m. Guardians of the Galaxy only needs $70m this weekend to secure the record for an August opening, but now forecasters are suggesting the movie could make in excess of $75m!
As if you didn't know, Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters this Friday 1st August, with preview screenings at large format theaters opening tomorrow.