Defying all odds – or at least the highly subjective odds that studio executives are fond of talking about — James Gunn’s spacey sci-fi adventure Guardians of the Galaxy is the number one movie in the country right now, bringing in a whopping $94 million over the weekend. For those who don’t have immediate memory recall for all the movies ever released in August, this is definitely a box office record for the month, with Guardians’s total completely outshining The Bourne Ultimatum’s $69 million August weekend back in 2007. Sci-fi fans couldn’t be happier, Groot couldn’t be more Groot, and James Gunn couldn’t be more thankful for audiences taking a chance on one of the weirdest blockbusters Hollywood has ever known.
Adding to Guardians of the Galaxy’s domestic total is the $66.4 million it earned overseas, bringing its weekend gross to over $160 million. Not too shabby for a movie that had even the most hardcore fans wondering if it could save this year’s box office slump while also earning enough moolah to justify the already announced sequel. It did that in spades, coming very close to topping the opening weekend for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a movie about one of the comic world’s most iconic characters. (It also made $9 million more than Thor: The Dark World’s opening.) Believe it or not, the Guardians of the Galaxy are a bonafide success.
With his first major tentpole feature, former Troma talent James Gunn threw a whole bunch of ideas at the wall and most of them stuck. The film follows the formation of the titular squad as they band together to keep an extremely dangerous object out of an extremely dangerous (and underwritten) villain’s hands. Offbeat comedy and CGI madness ensues, making this an extremely fun Hollywood blockbuster for (almost) all ages. And Gunn is extremely grateful that audiences have been so accepting of a property that has been treated like a jokey outcast at time. Read his heartfelt appreciation below:
It takes guts and talent to rise so quickly in the ranks of Marvel filmmakers, and though Gunn will probably never ascend to Joss Whedon heights of fan obsession, he’s definitely the studio’s dark horse. (I wonder if Gunn will also direct a Shakespeare adaptation during the filming of Guardians of the Galaxy 2.) In any case, it’s always nice when a director takes the time to shine a spotlight on the people dropping money on their work.
For those keeping score, Guardians of the Galaxy also holds the record for 2014’s highest earning Thursday night opening, as it pulled in $11.2 million. What other records can the film break, and when can I get my hands on a Nebula bobblehead?