The Marvel magic continues. The latest set of superheroes brought by Marvel studios is another roaring success, and an emphatic example of how much the audience is loving this cinematic magic that the studio has unleashed. Guardians of the Galaxy was supposed to be the litmus test for the studio, as it was introducing this bunch of intergalactic heroes for the first time. True, that it forms part of the Avengers landscape, but it wasn’t a sequel, and a completely untested product. All that was forgotten over the weekend, as the audience came in numbers for the Marvel dose of superheroes and Guardians of the Galaxy opened with $94 million in North America, a record for the month of August. So how good is this opening as compared to the other big budget flicks of the year? Here is a list of the best opening weekends seen this year.
1) Transformers: Age of Extinction ($100.0 million)
2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95.0 million)
3) Guardians of the Galaxy ($94.0 million; estimated)
4) Godzilla ($93.2 million)
5) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6 million)
6) X-Men: Days of Future Past ($90.8 million).
The fact that Guardians of the Galaxy opens almost on par with Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was a sequel that also benefited from its hero’s presence in The Avengers, shows that it is the Marvel brand that is now getting the audience to the theatres. The fact that the movie has been enjoying good reviews (92% score on Rottentomatoes!) doesn’t hurt at all. Internationally, the movie has earned about $66 million so far, which brings its worldwide tally to $160 million. The movie has a lot of weeks more to run, of course, and is yet to open in many territories still; it is safe to say though that its production budget of $170 million will easily be recovered. The point of interest that remains is whether Guardians of the Galaxy can match the foreign earnings of $450 million plus of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If this new crop of superheroes manage that feat too, then Marvel is truly conquering the planet!
The other wide release this weekend was the biopic on musician James Brown titled Get On Up. Well, a head-to-head competition with a Marvel film is never recommended, and rarely tried. But Get On Up took a call which did not really go so well; it had a $14 million opening weekend in North America, which puts it at third place on the box-office charts. Even though the production budget is only $30 million, this opening for the film isn’t worth celebrating, and considering that the audience for such a biopic would be limited outside the USA, distributor Universal Pictures is unlikely to keep its fingers crossed.
As was expected, Lucy and Hercules took a strong tumble in their second weekend, at 58% and 64% respectively. Both movies are however following different paths. Lucy has already been declared a hit given its strong opening and modest budget; it is on its way to cross the $100 million earnings mark domestically. Hercules on the other hand had a lukewarm domestic opening and considering its $100 million budget, it needs a much better performance internationally. So far its worldwide earnings tally stands at $108 million, and one would be able to gauge better after a couple of weeks on this film.
And finally Transformers: Age of Extinction achieved the landmark of becoming only the 19th Hollywood film to earn more than a billion dollars globally, a feat that had seemed a question mark when the movie had opened with only $100 million in North America a few weeks back. While a $100 million opening is no way weak, it ain’t the kind of figures a studio would want if the target is to cross the $1 billion mark. Compare this with the opening of The Dark Knight of 2008, which is the film Transformers: Age of Extinction has narrowly crossed in global earnings; the former had opened in North America with collections of $158 million on its first weekend! But the global market has expanded in the years since, and with the clever marketing to attract the Chinese audience, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction has now earned more than The Dark Knight despite its domestic earnings being less than half of the Batman movie. So as of now, its domestic tally of $241 million and foreign tally of $764 million brings the worldwide total to $1,005 million, and it’s theatrical run isn’t over yet. Say what you want about the Transformers series, Michael Bay has indeed created a monstrous Hollywood giant through this franchise.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Guardians of the Galaxy ($94.0 million)
2. Lucy ($18.3 million; second weekend)
3. Get On Up ($14.0 million)
4. Hercules ($10.7 million; second weekend)
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($8.7 million; fourth weekend)