‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Could Have Best Marvel Movie Opening Of Summer 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy is off to a rocking start for its opening weekend with $37.8 million earned on Friday. The Walt Disney and Marvel Studios produced movie could surpass the opening weekends for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World thanks to early showings on Thursday.

Box Office Mojo revealed the $37.8 million Friday number for Guardians of the Galaxy, but that includes $11.2 million from early showings on Thursday (via the Los Angeles Times). That still beats Captain America which earned $10.2 million during its Thursday release, which went on to gross $37 million for its opening Friday.

The latest Marvel movie was originally expected to earn $60 million to $65 million by Walt Disney Studios, but is now projected to earn $95 million for its opening weekend. This is really quite remarkable when you stop to think about it.

Captain America and Thor benefitted from sequels and buzz built from the first Avengers movie. However, Guardians of the Galaxy is relatively obscure even among Marvel comic fans and it is the first Marvel film set entirely in space, features only one character that can claim to be human, and the only recognizable character to return from previous films is Thanos, who made a “blink and you’ll miss it” non-speaking appearance in an Avengers post-credits scene.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Rocket and Groot
These oddball Guardians of the Galaxy characters have quickly become favorites.

“The movie on paper sounded crazy because it’s a comic book no one’s heard of, a raccoon that talks, a wrestler in one of the lead roles and the guy from ‘Parks and Recreation’ as the hero,” Fandango chief correspondent Dave Karger told the Los Angeles Times. “But now we know, of course, the raccoon steals the movie, the wrestler holds his own, and Chris Pratt is a leading man.”

People “will probably expect a bigger opening weekend now,” Karger added.

Word of mouth has been particularly strong; Guardians has social media buzzing about it all weekend, and thus far has earned an “A” rating from CinemaScore, which polls moviegoers on opening night. It’s also earned a 96 percent fresh rating from fans on Rotten Tomatoes with 92 percent of the professional critics also giving the film a thumbs up.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is already confirmed along with a basic plot direction, which was also teased at the end of the film.