"Guardians of the Galaxy" has conquered the box office, earning $94 million in its debut weekend in theaters. Marvel's gamble paid off and the studio looks to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales for 2014 following the release of "Guardians" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" in April.
"Guardians of the Galaxy," starring Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, or Star-Lord, and directed by James Gunn, features an outcast group of characters, including a talking raccoon and tree voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively, from a relatively obscure Marvel comic that was rebooted in 2008. While the general public may have not known who Groot or Rocket Raccoon were, Marvel pushed the movie with a strong marketing campaign to raise awareness. In addition to the $94 million domestic box office, "Guardians of the Galaxy" has been a hit with critics and audience.
Overseas, "Guardians" opened strong, earning $66.4 million at the foreign box office, for a worldwide total of $160.4 million. "Captain America: The Winter Solider" has earned $713.2 million to date and if "Guardians of the Galaxy" can earn $140 million during its theatrical run, Marvel will surpass $1 billion in ticket sales for 2014. In 2013, Marvel earned close to $2 billion in the box office thanks to the success of "Iron Man 3" and "Thor: The Dark World," and 2015 is poised to be another big year as the highly anticipated "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is released on May 1, 2015.
The $94 million earned by "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the biggest August opening ever, beating "The Bourne Ultimatum," and is the third-highest opening for 2014, with "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" holding the first and second spots, respectively. Marvel already announced "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" for a July 28, 2017 release and Gunn will return to direct.
Last week's box office champ, "Lucy," slipped to second place. The Scarlett Johansson-led sci-fi flick earned $18.3 in its second week. The week's other wide release, the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," finished in third place with $14 million.
Gunn thanked the cast and crew for the success on Twitter and Facebook. Gunn said in a post on Facebook, "I've spent this weekend hard at work on the sequel. I couldn't help myself! The results are nice but it's really the creative process I love and that keeps me going. I'm on fire with this thing! The Guardians have so many hardships and heartaches and triumphs ahead of them, and I can't wait to share them with all of you."
Thank YOU for helping #GuardiansoftheGalaxy have the biggest August opening in history. 160 million worldwide! Much gratitude.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 3, 2014