Will Marvel’s Latest Bet ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ Earn a Big Payoff?

Source: Marvel

Source: Marvel

The latest Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy is opening on Friday after much anticipation, and it’s already on track not only to lead the weekend box office, but also to become one of North America’s biggest August openings of all time.

The flick, directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel, follows the story of Peter Quill (Pratt) who sparks a manhunt after stealing a mysterious orb from a space villain. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it is expected to earn at least $65 million this weekend, with some predicting it might even cross $70 million.

It’s been a tough season at the box office, with summer revenue reportedly on a steep decline of more than 20 percent. But Guardians of the Galaxy has a lot of positives going for it that could help it surprise that $70 million mark. It’s opening in more than 4,080 theaters, the widest August release ever. In addition to heavy promotion, the flick has earned rave reviews, currently holding an 89 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While the characters in this particular comic aren’t the most well known or accessible of the Marvel universe, critics have praised the cast’s zany and fun portrayals and the movie’s heart.

All of the buzz surrounding the film seems to be working. Guardians of the Galaxy has already become the top August pre-seller in Fandango history, outselling the Bourne Ultimatum, which debuted to a domestic record of $69.2 million in 2007. Per Fandango, the tentpole is also now the year’s top pre-seller for any non-sequel film, beating The Lego Movie, which opened to $69.1 million in February.

Fandango also reports that Guardians is on pace to best two of Marvel’s previous hits, Thor, which opened to $67.5 million and Captain America: The First Avenger, which debuted to $65.1 million. It’s a promising start for the new Marvel franchise. The studio, for their part, seemed confident in the project all along, spending $170 million on production and even announcing a Guardians sequel at Comic-Con earlier this month. Guardians 2 is scheduled to be released in 2017.

Another notable movie opening this weekend is Get On Up, based on the life on James Brown. The biopic is helmed by director Tate Taylor and stars Chadwick Boseman in the lead role, with Ocativa Spencer, Viola Davis, Dan Akyroyd and Craig Robinson co-starring. The film is also earning widely positive reviews, with an 82 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Taylor’s prior August films, like The Help and Lee Daniels The Butler, were box office successes and earned multiple award nominations. Given the critics’ encouraging feedback, there’s a possibility that Get On Up may also earn attention during award season. But the biopic isn’t as anywhere near as buzzworthy as Guardians (or even as Taylor’s prior films) and is currently projected to open around $19 million.

In limited release, Cavalry will hit theaters this weekend after a successful run at Sundance. The movie, led by Brendan Gleeson, chronicles the story of a good priest thrust into dangerous circumstances by a mysterious member of his parish. It has already earned glowing reviews, with a 90 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

James Franco’s latest directorial effort, Child of God, is also opening this weekend, as is teen comedy Behaving Badly, starring Selena Gomez.

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