(Eliminates reference to Marvel in paragraph 13. "Trasformers:
Age of Extinction" is a Paramount film.)
Aug 3 "Guardians of the Galaxy," Walt Disney
Co's offbeat space adventure featuring extraterrestrial
misfits and a talking raccoon, made $94 million in ticket sales
this weekend, setting a record for an August film opening.
The film's strong beginning, however, isn't likely to
jumpstart a lackluster summer box office season.
The 3D movie, which stars lesser-known characters in
Disney's Marvel comic book universe, added $66.4 million from
international markets, for a global debut of $160.4 million,
Disney said on Sunday.
"Guardians" outgunned last weekend's leader, the
science-fiction thriller "Lucy" that collected another $18.3
million in sales at domestic theaters, according to estimates
"Lucy" stars Scarlett Johansson as a woman with a
"Get On Up," a biography of the soul singer James Brown, was
third with $14 million in its first weekend in theaters.
"Guardians" stars an ensemble cast that includes Zoe
Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Chris Pratt. After
positive reviews, the film was the year's biggest Thursday night
opening with $11.2 million in sales starting with 7 p.m. shows.
Even before the film's opening, Walt Disney said it was
planning a sequel for release in July 2017.
Head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Dave Hollis
attributed the strong performance of "Guardians" to a
combination of momentum started by "Transformers: Age of
Extinction" in June, skillful marketing, and strong reviews.
"It starts with a great movie, and certainly the marketing
was inspired," Hollis said.
Disney had marketed the film's lighter moments in trailers
and commercials, including a machinegun-firing raccoon, to
expand its popularity beyond traditional Marvel movie fans.
The movie features a soundtrack of music from the 1970s,
including the songs "Hooked on a Feeling" and "Spirit in the
"Transformers: Age of Extinction," just passed $1 billion in
global box office returns, according to Paramount Pictures.
"Guardians" performance, which beat Hollywood forecasts of a
$65 million to $80 million opening, are not likely to energize
the summer box office, however, as ticket sales are currently
running 18 percent behind last year, according to Rentrak.
"It doesn't end it but it's certainly a step in the right
direction," said Rentrak's senior media analyst Paul
Dergarabedian about the slump.
It only gave the overall summer box office a two percent
lift, he said.
"Hercules," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the
legendary muscle man, was fourth for the weekend with $10.7
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" was fifth with $8.7
million. The film has totaled more than $189.3 million in sales
in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak.
"Lucy" and "Get On Up" were released by Universal, a unit of
Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox,
distributed "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." "Hercules" and
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" were released by Paramount
Pictures, a Viacom unit.
(Reporting By Ronald Grover and Andrea Burzynski; Editing by