Hey Filmmakers. Welcome to Going Bionic #226. Today we’re discussing the surprisingly solid launch of Guardians of the Galaxy, and how its stellar numbers may alter summer release strategies in the future. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Marvel Studios’ newest slam-dunk franchise.
Galaxy’s Domestic Box Office Orbits all August Records
Guardians of the Galaxy blew past all previous August box office records, when it earned $94,320,883 domestically on 4,080 screens, which is a $23,118 per screen average. That’s light years beyond the previous August champion, The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), which made $69,283,690 on 3,660 screens, which is an $18,929 per screen average.
The solid performance of Marvel’s newest gem makes August a lethal month to release tent pole pictures. This is significant, because studios haven’t mined much box-office gold in August in the past, so having the ability to do so may sharply increase the future summer box office totals, this year and beyond. If nothing else, I’d lay odds that Marvel keeps the release dates of the Guardian of the Galaxy sequels in August. Furthermore, this franchise is already positioning itself to “own” the late summer at the box office, because its next installment is scheduled to be released on July 28, 2017.
Numbers Don’t Lie
With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92% fresh, an “A” rating on CinemaScore, a 44% woman audience base, (which is Marvel’s largest ever), and over 55% of the audience is over the age of 25, Guardians of the Galaxy is primed for one hell of a run at the box office. Thus, this film could easily become the champion of the summer, which would be astronomically amazing, given the film’s August release.
The Foreign Box Office Sings the Same Tune
Guardians of the Galaxy has made $67,400,000 internationally, which raises its worldwide total to $161,720,883 since its release. That’s pretty damn good for the $170 million dollar budgeted picture, whose characters do not have a multi-generation history of fans like Captain America, or Thor. While some of the success has to be attributed to the fact that moviegoers simply trust Marvel these days, and will give the studio the benefit of the doubt on titles they’re unsure about, it also has to do with the undeniable truth that audiences always love fresh, new characters from brands they trust – especially during this era when almost every single major release is a sequel or prequel of some sort.
What Guardians of the Galaxy Teaches Us
Audiences are starved for fresh characters. While sequels are (usually) safe investments, nothing is more of a money grab at the box office than new characters from a trusted source. Think about the box office earned by Frozen, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. Those films (and their franchises) made billions, and none of it would have ever happened if their studios (Disney & DreamWorks) didn’t take a chance on them.
How does all of this affect you, the Indie Filmmaker?
Every time a film launches beyond its financial expectations, studios tend to take a look at like-minded projects to see if they can mine another diamond in the rough. Studios usually only do this for major properties that have a solid following, like graphic novels and novels, but their doors do remain ever-so-slightly cracked open during times of “fresh mining.”
The other thing to remember is that studio are getting more and more open to hiring indie directors for major studio films. For example, Marc Webb, the director of the $7.5 million budgeted (500) Days of Summer, (2009) went on to direct the $230 million budgeted The Amazing Spiderman (2012) and the similarly budgeted The Amazing Spider-man 2 (2014).
Furthermore, Gareth Edwards, the director of the “less than $500 thousand budgeted” British indie sci-fi flick, Monsters (2010) to directing the $160,000,000 budgeted Godzilla (2014), to just signing on to direct the first reboot of Star Wars. Thus, studios are definitely open to pluck the best directors the indie ranks have to offer.
On that note, I’d like to thank you once again for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them once again next Tuesday. In the meantime, have a great week! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.