Among the biggest 2014 releases, Guardians wound up a bit behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and Godzilla. More so than for those movies, the Guardians audience rushed out on Thursday night: nearly 30 percent of the Friday gross was earned on the previous day.
In one respect, the high Thursday share suggests that the weekend will be fairly front-loaded. However, the Guardians marketing campaign has attempted to position the movie as family-friendly entertainment; if that strategy pays off, the movie should have an above-average hold on Saturday. It also has strong word-of-mouth ("A" CinemaScore) and great reviews (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), though it's unclear exactly how much that's going to help.
A three-day weekend in the $92 to $96 million range seems likely at this point. That will easily be enough to set a new August record ahead of The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3 million).
In second place, Lucy fell 68 percent to $5.5 million. That steep drop can be attributed to mixed word-of-mouth and some tough direct competition from Guardians of the Galaxy. To date, Lucy has earned $66.8 million.
James Brown biopic Get On Up opened to an estimated $5 million on Friday. That's a big higher than Jersey Boys ($4.6 million), but is still a fairly modest debut. For the weekend, the movie should wind up around $15 million.
Hercules plummeted 72 percent to $3.2 million. Similar to Lucy's drop, this can be chalked up to the movie's lukewarm reception and a brutal competitor in Guardians. Through eight days, the sword-and-sandals movie has earned $44.8 million.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes rounded out the Top Five with $2.4 million. To date, the movie has earned $183.1 million.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy - $95 million
2. Lucy - $18 million
3. Get on Up - $15 million
4. Hercules - $10.3 million
5. Dawn/Apes - $8.4 million
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• Forecast: 'Guardians' To Take Off With August Record
• Grosses for Friday, August 1, 2014