A big bright spot for blockbuster filmmaking in what's been a pretty dim Summer season thus far, as Guardians of the Galaxy registers the year's third-biggest opening weekend of the year yet. A very quiet frame for new openers, it was nevertheless a strong one overall: up 40% from the same time last year, and suggesting that 2014's August will make up serious financial ground after a pitiful July.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy ($94,320,883)
Opening below only Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this marvellous first weekend gross for Guardians is likely down to a strong, enjoyable marketing effort from Disney combined with the plain fact that the film is quite well-liked by critics and audiences alike. It's virtually guaranteed that this will hold much better than Transformers and will thus rank as Summer 2014's highest-grossing movie. This is also the top opening weekend for a film without any direct franchise predecessor since The Hunger Games, over two years ago.
2. Lucy ($18,252,590)
3. Get On Up ($13,585,915)
Tate Taylor's James Brown biopic was touted as The Help director's next big bid at Oscar - with 42's Chadwick Boseman in the lead, a popular subject, and Taylor's Oscar-proven support in Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer seemed to confirm that the film would provide the same kind of successful August counter-programming that his last film did three years back. Get On Up has good reviews and an A CinemaScore, but this underwhelming opening will prevent it from getting anywhere close to The Help's $169.7 million total.
4. Hercules ($11,010,367)
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($8,690,314)
6. Planes: Fire & Rescue ($6,044,003)
7. The Purge: Anarchy ($5,853,245)
8. Sex Tape ($3,522,201)
9. And So It Goes ($3,261,935)
10. A Most Wanted Man ($3,240,980)
With the popularity of The Guard, one might have expected John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson's next project to improve somewhat on its opening. In fact, it's opened very slightly lower, though it's undoubtedly a tougher sell.
49. Child of God ($27,630)
A VOD release, difficult subject matter and lukewarm reviews have kept some viewers away from James Franco's latest directorial effort. This isn't a rotten box office showing for the Cormac McCarthy adaptation, though.
Four films opening wide next weekend: Lasse Hallstrom's The Hundred-Foot Journey, trying to rally older audiences with the help of Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, Step Up All In, which is tellingly being dumped into only 2,000 theatres, Into the Storm and, of all things, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so there you go.