It’s looking like Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t too weird for mainstream moviegoers after all, as Marvel’s tale of talking trees and raccoons has earned $11.2 million from Thursday night preview screenings, besting the rather-more-straightforward Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s $10.2 million take back in April for best of the year. Reached for comment, Vin Diesel said “I am Groot!”
Despite lacking a top-shelf superhero in the form of Captain America or Thor, the comic book adaptation is on track for the biggest August opening in history, topping “The Bourne Ultimatum’s” $69.3 million bow. It is expected to premiere to north of $75 million, but could soar even higher given that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” debuted to $95 million this spring and this film is hitting loftier numbers.
The film is a record-breaker in another sense. It will have the widest August opening in history when it expands to 4,080 theaters on Friday, nearly 3,200 of which are in 3D, carrying with them surcharges. Overseas, the film will debut in 42 international territories including the United Kingdom, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea. The picture carries an $170 million production budget. [Variety]
Of course, one caveat is that Guardians is more niche, and niche movies tend to be more front loaded, ie, cult audiences tend to do their movie going on opening night and the gross fizzles out as it plows through demand in the first weekend. But I don’t think that’s going to happen with Guardians of the Galaxy. The great thing about it is that it isn’t actually that weird, but it’s generally perceived as such. That could potentially be great for audiences. Hopefully Disney/Marvel will see this and be more even more willing to give their comic book properties to more “oddball” directors with a recognizable style and cult following. It’s a shame they managed to screw up basically the same thing with Ant-Man and Edgar Wright – it’s hard not to see James Gunn-Guardians-Chris Pratt as almost perfectly analogous to Edgar Wright-Ant-Man-Paul Rudd – but hopefully Disney/Marvel will see the success of Guardians and it will make them that much more determined not to f*ck it up the next time around.