As the summer movie season puttered to a close, just as it does every Labor Day, a ragtag roster of intergalactic a-holes planted its flag atop the smoldering wreckage of Hollywood’s 16-week blockbuster assault. Even six months ago, who could have guessed that the unofficial kings of summer—and, as of Friday, the whole year—would be that sweet goofball from Parks And Recreation and a CGI raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper? Over the long holiday weekend, Guardians Of The Galaxy held down the No. 1 position at the box office, crossing the $280 million mark to not only secure its position as the reigning champ of the summer, but also to become the year’s biggest hit. Like its mismatched anti-heroes, the Marvel space opera has exceeded all expectations. Don’t be shocked if DC ends up adding a little more funk to its inevitable Green Lantern reboot, making Sinestro boogie to “Never My Love” or something.
Box-office analysts have called this summer the worst in about a decade, noting not just the overall dip in ticket sales, but also the fact that nothing opened to more than $100 million or cleared $300 million (let alone $400 million, which Iron Man 3 made last summer). On the other hand, there were less out-and-out flops, like 2013’s The Lone Ranger, and most of the major studios had at least one or two feathers to add to their caps. Furthermore, from a creative standpoint, this was a very solid year for blockbusters, with the studios churning out such superbly made entertainments as Guardians, Godzilla, Edge Of Tomorrow, and Lucy. (Also, some seemed to feel that way about the new Apes film, too. Some.) And that’s to say nothing of the season’s indie success stories, like Chef and Boyhood.
But back to this four-day weekend: Nothing new was able to muscle its way onto Guardians’ turf, or even best the holdover runner-ups. Landing in fourth place, below the bafflingly enduring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($11.9) and If I Stay ($9.3 million), was the found-footage horror flick As Above, So Below ($8.6 million). The November Man, Pierce Brosnan’s umpteenth attempt to reclaim his James Bond glory days, made $7.8 million in seventh place. Nudged between these two major-release debuts, Let’s Be Cops added $8.2 million to its respectable $57 million tally, despite almost universally negative reviews. Further down the chart, the Mexican biopic Cantinflas—targeted specifically to Latino audiences and not screened for critics—made a sizable $2.6 million. And for its 30th anniversary, the original Ghostbusters—kind of the Guardians of 1984’s galaxy—scared up $1.75 million. Now there’s a fine way to say sayonara to the summer movie season: by seeing one of the best blockbusters in the industry’s history.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.