~Matt Reed

If you would have told people two years ago when GotG was announced that it would be one of the biggest hits in the Marvel Films pantheon you would have been laughed out of the room.  Some said it would be the first misstep by Marvel and others predicted an outright bomb.  Marvel knew better and they were proved right this weekend.  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opened to an amazing $94 mil.  Included in that is the $11.2 mil it earned from early Thursday screenings, the best Thursday night total of any film this year. It also destroyed the previous August opening weekend record holder THE BOURNE ULTIMATIUM ($69.2 mil).  Taken in context, this film starring characters that are virtually unknown to the general public and considered C level at best to die-hard fans earned more than CAPTAIN AMERICA ($65 mil) and THOR ($65.7 mil) and fell just $4 mil short of the original IRON MAN ($98.6 mil).  It also smashed the opening weekends of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ($62 mil), HULK ($62.1 mil), GREEN LANTERN ($53.1 mil), BATMAN BEGINS ($48.7 mil) and X-MEN ($54.4 mil).  Of recent superhero franchise starters dating back to 2000 only AVENGERS ($207.4 mil), MoS ($116.6 mil) and Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN ($114.8 mil) had better openings.  Simply put, GotG is a runaway smash hit that has a 92% Fresh Rating and is getting some of the best reviews of the year.  It’s exactly what this otherwise dreadful Summer 2014 movie season needed.

As predicted, both LUCY and HERCULES fell hard this weekend in the face of the competition.  LUCY lost 58% of its week-to-week audience to earn $18.2 mil and HERCULES lost 64% to earn $10.7 mil.  That said, LUCY’s estimated $79.5 mil total against a $40 mil budget make it a hit while HERCULES will struggle to earn $70 mil against a $100 mil budget.

The only other film that opened in wide release was GET ON UP.  Against mediocre reviews it was only able to muster $14 mil.  Although better by $700,000 than recent biopic JERSEY BOYS ($13.3 mil) it can’t be considered anything more than a miss and may be considered a bomb when the summer totals are calculated.

Short Takes:  TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide.  DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES has exceeded its predecessor’s $176.7 mil domestic box office.  SEX TAPE and AND SO IT GOES continue to fall into obscurity with the latter film a total bomb. Both A MOST WANTED MAN and BOYHOOD continue to impress in limited release, the former resting at $7 mil and the latter at $7.5 mil.

Up Next: Four films vie to knock GUARDIANS from its perch.  The franchise reboot TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, the thriller INTO THE STORM, the adult drama THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY and the next installment in the never ending STEP UP franchise, STEP UP ALL IN.

Here, as always, are the weekend domestic estimates courtesy of our friends at

box office

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