Walt Disney Co.'s Guardians of the Galaxy, the new group of movie superheroes mined from Marvel's comic-book lineup, officially became Hollywood elite as stars of the biggest summer film in the U.S.
"Guardians of the Galaxy," released Aug. 1, took in $17.6 million this weekend to lead in U.S. and Canadian theaters, Rentrak Corp. said today in an e-mailed statement, vaulting past "Transformers: Age of Extinction," which had been No. 1. The Disney film, about a lesser-known group of misfit Marvel characters, has generated $251.9 million in domestic ticket sales as of this weekend, making it No. 1 for the season.
"The self-deprecating humor and quirky cast of characters in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy' make it an irresistibly entertaining and fun summer ride," Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at Rentrak Corp., said in an e-mail. "That, along with the classic rock soundtrack, have made it the cool movie to see in the late summer."
The tally caps another strong performance for Disney and its Marvel division, which last year had the biggest hit of the summer with "Iron Man 3," and led the 2012 season with "The Avengers." The studio boasts the biggest U.S. hit of 2014 as well, with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," released on April 4, before summer began. That film has earned $259.8 million in domestic theaters, and $714.1 million worldwide.
"Transformers," from Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, has produced $243.8 million in domestic ticket sales. Released on June 27, the film took in $385,000 this weekend, according to Rentrak.
Global Sales Worldwide, "Transformers" is still the top movie for the summer and for the year, with $1.05 billion in global revenue, according to Box Office Mojo. "Guardians" has $489.5 million in worldwide sales and is unlikely to catch up.
While the international box office makes up a growing portion of film revenue, the U.S. remains the largest market. The sales that studios receive for movies in the home-entertainment market -- cable TV showings, DVDs and movie downloads, for example -- closely follow the domestic box office, and are in some cases tied directly to ticket sales.
Studios also keep a bigger share of U.S. ticket sales than in some other markets. In China, where "Transformers" has grossed more than $300 million, according to Box Office Mojo, Hollywood gets less than a quarter of the box-office proceeds. That compares with 50 percent or more in the U.S.
Officials at Disney, based in Burbank, California, and Paramount, declined to comment.
Scrappy Cast With "Guardians," Marvel brought a scrappy, less-known group of comic-book heroes to cinemas, with an eye toward developing a new film series. The studio spent $170 million making the movie, according to Box Office Mojo. A sequel is planned for 2017, Disney said.