Guardians Of The Galaxy Stellar Debut Weekend; Riskiest Marvel Property Lets The Studio Print Money On Any Comic Property; Bring On Squirrelgirl

By Steve Buja , Updated Aug 04, 2014 07:53 AM EDT

This weekend, America got hooked on that Guardians of the Galaxy feeling. The film opened to the biggest August opening weekend ever, absolutely annihilating its initial estimate of $65 million. The film damn near hit $100 million, ending its epic opening run at $94 million.

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The previous best August opening was The Bourne Ultimatum, which debuted with a paltry-looking $69 million back in 2007.

Guardians is Marvel's second film this year. The first, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, opened in April and hit $95 million its first weekend. With the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel may as well just set up a mint in their studio and start printing money.

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What makes Guardians noteworthy is that six months ago, nobody outside of the hardcore comic fans knew who the this rag tag team of cosmic adventurers were. After months of positive buzz and some incredible trailers, I doubt if there is anybody in America who isn't at least aware of them. A $94 million opening for a non-sequel property in this day and age proves the legitimacy of the Marvel brand. If people will show up to see a movie about a space raccoon and a talking tree just because it comes from Marvel, then there is nothing Marvel can put it out that will disappoint.

This is excellent news for the troubled Ant Man film, which is scheduled to come out next year and is only just now starting production. The film stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, who are much more well known than anyone in Guardians. The only thing that matters is the studio name in front of the credits. The last time people showed up to a film just because a certain studio released a new movie was the golden age of Pixar, and look at some of the classics they released during their ten year run.

Much of the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe schedule is filled with sequels. Captain America 3, Avengers 2 and yes, Guardians 2 (which is hitting sometime in 2017). After Ant Man, the next upcoming non-sequel property from Marvel is Doctor Strange. As Guardians introduced the cosmic angle of the MCU, Strange will let viewers in on the supernatural side. On paper, it could be a hard sell. But on paper, a movie like Guardians, featuring characters nobody really knew about, was damn near impossible. The internet was crying that the sky was finally going to fall on Marvel, that they made a big mistake.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best times you will have this summer. A movie like Captain America or Iron Man will sell itself; people are aware. What makes the Marvel brand so exciting is their ability to sell the public on something a little weird and a little wild. Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge gamble and it has paid off huge.

I can't wait for the sequel, and whatever else Marvel has in store. Bring on the Great Lakes Avengers. Bring on X-Factor, Alpha Flight and hell, the Rocketeers. We'll see it. We'll see them all!

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