In the final weekend of the summer movie season, Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, yet again, vanquished the competition. For the weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy grossed an estimated $16.3 million at the domestic box office. This increases the domestic total for the film to $274.6 million. Worldwide, the film has made $574 million. Guardians of the Galaxy has saved one of the worst summer movie seasons in recent memory.
As of this weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy is now the No. 1 movie in America, surpassing another Marvel Studios release, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In only its fifth weekend of release, the film has made $274.6 million, so it is all but assured to break the domestic $300 million mark. No other blockbuster studio tentpole release this summer managed to accomplish that feat–not even Paramount’s Transformers franchise sequel, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Hollywood’s summer offerings have been majorly disappointing, save for some bright spots, including: X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Guardians of the Galaxy was by far the best major release this summer, catching many by surprise.
Guardians of the Galaxy has now surpassed all of its competition at the domestic box office this summer. The story of the summer: many famous franchises and sequels under-performing, and generally disappointing. For example, the film Transformers: Age of Extinction did manage to cross $1 billion at the global box office; but it suffered audience erosion at the domestic box office. The Expendables 3 is currently the worst-grossing installment of that particular franchise and essentially bombed at the box office. The long-awaited sequel to Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, also bombed. The film currently sits at $15 million worldwide and will not come close to touching the domestic or worldwide grosses of the first film. How to Train Your Dragon 2 managed a stronger overseas gross, but also did weaker business than the original in the US.
Most likely, the biggest offender was The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That film became the lowest grossing movie in the history of the Spider-Man movie franchise. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 grossed only $202 million domestically and $708 million worldwide. While the film did pull an impressive overseas box office gross, it was hammered by reviews and poorly received among fans. Five years ago, one could argue that the mere idea of Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy live-action films defeating Spider-Man at the box office was laughable. That is no longer the case. The disappointing performance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has left the franchise in an awkward state. Sony Pictures wants to make more films and spin-off films, but the appeal of this current rebooted Spider-Man movie universe has declined with moviegoers.
Guardians of the Galaxy picked up the slack for a weak summer with its August release. The charming and entertaining film is an eclectic mix that makes moviegoers feel like they are watching Star Wars with a more modern flair. With such an obscure property like Guardians of the Galaxy destroying its summer box office competition this year, many Hollywood studios have been put on notice to step up their games. For example, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. were forced to move the release date of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice from its May 6, 2016 release spot against Captain America 3. It is hard to believe the domination by Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier this year had nothing to do with the influence of that decision.
By Jeffrey Harris