Guardians of the Galaxy earned an estimated $94 million on its opening weekend, setting a new August record and validating the filmmakers and executives who took a chance on a tongue-in-cheek, big-budget sci-fi adventure based on a lesser-known cult title. With a solid $66 million opening from overseas markets and a sequel in progress, the Marvel Studios film is already one of this year’s great successes. How great depends: Can Guardians break the box office curse of summer 2014?
By almost every measure, this summer has been a disappointment at the domestic box office, a credit to audience fatigue, a crowded schedule of tentpole releases, and fewer mid-level hits along the lines of last year’s The Conjuring. For the first time since 2002, July’s total didn’t even hit $1 billion. And in spite of some huge opening weekends, no summer movie has managed to take in $300 million at the domestic box office. That hasn’t happened since 2001, when $300 million was a lot harder to reach (tickets were cheaper, and there were virtually no 3D or IMAX surcharges).