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Guardians of the Galaxy enjoys record US and UK opening figures

Guardians of the Galaxy

Story by Jack Foley

MARVEL’S Guardians of the Galaxy has become a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic, vindicating the decision to take a risk on a new franchise.

In the US alone, the James Gunn directed movie opened to a massive $94 million to secure the top August debut of all time. In doing so it, also beat every other summer blockbuster this year save for Transformers: Age of Extinction, which took $100 million in July.

In the UK meanwhile, the film collected a studio estimate of £6.4 million during its opening four days, giving it the honour of enjoying one of the biggest ever original Marvel openings. Guardians took more in its first four days than the first instalments of Iron Man (£5.6m – 4 day opening), Thor (£5.46m – 6 day opening), Captain America (£3.3m – 3 day opening) and X-Men (£4.8m – 4 day opening).

Internationally, the film’s gross extends to a total of $66.4 million for a global opening of $160.4 million. This includes big numbers in Russia ($13 million), Mexico ($6.5 million) and Brazil ($5.4 million).

Going into the weekend, the film had been projecting an opening in the $65 million range in the US. But the film has been buoyed by glowing reviews and a strong marketing campaign by Marvel, whose box office hot streak just became scorching.

Commenting on the figures, Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told The Hollywood Reporter: “Having a great movie that’s original is such a rare thing anymore. This film and its reception around the world proves Marvel can break new ground with unique characters.”

Guardians follows the fortunes of a rag-tag group of unlikely galactic heroes as they bid to prevent an explosive orb being detonated with severe consequences. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace and features the voices of Bradley Cooper, as Rocket the raccoon, and Vin Diesel, as a talking tree. Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro also star.

A sequel has already been announced by Marvel at the recent Comic-Con event in San Diego.

In other box office news this weekend, Transformers: Age of Extinction also made headlines by becoming the first movie of 2014 to hit $1 billion in global ticket sales, thanks to earning more than $300 million in China.

Godzilla has also now crossed $500 million worldwide, while 22 Jump Street has now taken $100 million internationally for a world-wide total of nearly $290 million, almost $100 million more than 21 Jump Street.

The US top five, meanwhile, is comprised of Guardians in top spot, Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy in second (with $18.2 million) and new James Brown biopic Get On Up in third with $14 million.

Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules came fourth with $10.7 million, while Dawn of the Planet of the Apes rounded out the top five with $8.7 million to bring its US total to $189.3 million.

Internationally, both Hercules and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continue to perform well: the former now reaching $108.8 million and the latter a mighty $449.3 million.

Next story: Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton commence shooting on A Hundred Streets