‘Guardians’ Tops Box Office for the 4th Time

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In its sixth weekend of release James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy topped the box office for the fourth time, a feat that only The Dark Knight, Avatar, and The Hunger Games have been able to accomplish in the past decade.  However, it must be said that Guardians is accomplishing this feat against pretty weak competition—this weekend’s box office was down 25% from the same frame last year when Riddick opened with $19 million.  The weekend after Labor Day is traditionally one of the worst movie-going frames of the year, but the overall gross, estimated at $63.9 million is the worst for this weekend since 2000, and given ticket price inflation it means that Hollywood just had one of its worst weekends in a long, long time.

Guardians’ latest triumph was expected—the only new film to open this weekend, the Christian-themed The Identical, bowed at #11—but it still reinforces the magnitude of the achievement by Marvel Studios in launching a new franchise that is not only successful, but the #1 film of the summer.  Guardians is shedding theaters now (down 241 this weekend), but it still managed the best per-screen average (#3,154) of any film on over 100 screens.  Guardians, which dropped 40%, but still earned $10.2 million over the weekend, is the #1 film of the year in North America so far with $294.6 million, and will be over the $300 million mark by this time next week.  Guardians has now earned more than Man of Steel ($291 million), making it the highest grossing domestic superhero film ever that didn’t feature Iron Man, Spider-Man, or Batman.  The Hunger Games Mockingjay, Part I will quite possibly earn more here in the domestic market, but for a new franchise, Guardians’ performance has been simply brilliant. 

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