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October 24, 2014
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Guardians tops worst season since 2006

From left, Zoe Saldana, the character Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Chris Pratt, the character Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Dave Bautista in a scene from Guardians Of The Galaxy.
By Sandy Cohen
AP (*)
LOS ANGELES — The intergalactic misfits of Guardians of the Galaxy are the season’s box-office superheroes.

Marvel’s cosmic romp topped the Labor Day box office with a three-day take of US$22 million — its third time in first place since its release five weeks ago, according to studio estimates yesterday. With North American ticket sales of more than US$280 million so far, Guardians is also the season’s — and the year’s — top-grossing film to date domestically.

Still, summer box-office totals are down almost 15 percent from last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.

“This is the lowest season since 2006 in terms of revenue,” he said. “Before Guardians, we were sitting on a 20 percent deficit compared to last year.”

Transformers: Age of Extinction, which opened in late June, also boosted the season’s box office with US$1 billion in global ticket sales. Maleficent was another hit, bringing in more than US$230 million domestically.

“This was never expected to be a record-breaking summer,” Dergarabedian said, “but it maybe came in under expectations.”

The World Cup may have distracted moviegoers, he said. Also, the death of Paul Walker caused the seventh installment of Fast & Furious — which might have added around US$200 million to this box office — to be postponed until next year.

Last season broke box-office records with the success of Iron Man 3, Star Trek, The Heat and Despicable Me 2.

Next one is expected to make history again with hotly anticipated releases including Star Wars, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Pixar’s Inside Out.

“Summer of 2014 is a transitional summer between two record-breaking years,” Dergarabedian said.

The top movies over the lackluster Labor Day holiday were the same as the previous weekend. Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles followed Guardians with US$15.7 million, while Warner Bros.’ young-adult drama, If I Stay took third place with US$11.6 million.

“We went out with a whimper,” Dergarabedian said. “We wound up a very exasperating summer on a very quiet note.”

@apsandy

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