10th UPDATE, Monday 1:20 PM: Disney/Marvel’s intergalatic juggernaut Guardians Of The Galaxy ended up the weekend with $94.3M becoming one of the highest openers of 2014 and busting August records. Get On Up, Universal’s James Brown biopic, whose audience trended older had a curtain call of $13.5M despite its A CinemaScore. However, adult movies usually tend to find their audiences slowly. In their second weekends, the Scarlett Johansson sci-fi actioner Lucy dropped 58% while Hercules lost its muscle to drop 63%. And So it Goes, an adult comedy that stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, held with only a 30% drop but it never really opened well to begin with.

All eyes are on next weekend. Guardians Of The Galaxy will hold onto all of  its IMAX screens next weekend as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Into the Storm (WB), The Hundred-Foot Journey (DIS) and Step Up All In (LGF) go wide. The only challenge to Guardians are the Turtles which have come out of their shells and tracking to a $30M to $40M this weekend for distributor Paramount. More tracking numbers will come in later in the week, but if Guardians falls 50% this coming weekend, it will gross $41.5M, but I think that Guardians — whose exit polls are very strong — will hold onto the No. 1 position in its second frame. It played strongly last night, the final night of the weekend with an estimated $25.6M haul. Kids are still out of school so that is good news for both Rocket Raccoon and the Ninja Turtles. All pics open on Thursday night so it’s going to be another crazy weekend at the box office. Step Up All In already bowed overseas to gross $6.6M this past weekend to bring its international cume to $26M.

The Top 20 Chart follows:

Jay
4 months
just watch youtube clips of the real james brown. will the real james brown get on up?
Jay
4 months
3D is dead. Imax is in
Villy
4 months
What a waste of money.

1). Guardians of the Galaxy (DIS), 4,080 theaters / Per screen average: $23,118 / 3-day est. cume: $94.3M

2). Lucy (UNI), 3,202 theaters (+29) / 3-day cume: $18.2M (-58%) / Per screen: $5,700 / Total cume: $79.5M / Wk 2

3). Get On Up (UNI), 2,468 theaters / Per screen: $5,505 / 3-day cume: $13.58M / Wk 1

4). Hercules (MGM/PAR), 3,595 theaters (0) / Per screen: $3,063 / 3-day cume: $11M (-63%) / Total est. cume: $52.3M / Wk 2

5). Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (FOX), 3,283 theaters (-385) / Per screen: $2,647 / 3-day cume: $8.6M / Total cume: $189.3M / Wk 4

6). Planes: Fire & Rescue (DIS), 3,241 theaters (-598) / Per screens: $1,865 / 3-day cume: $6M / Total cume: $47.2M / Wk 3

7). The Purge: Anarchy (UNI), 2,656 theaters (-200) / Per screen: $2,204 / 3-day cume: $5.8M / Total cume: $63.2 M / Wk 3

8). Sex Tape (SONY), 2,500 theaters (-562) / Per screen: $1,409 / 3-day cume: $3.5M / Total cume: $33.8M / Wk 3

9). And So It Goes (CLARIUS), 1,816 theaters (+54) / Per screen: $1, 796 / 3-day cume: $3.26M (-30%) / Total cume: $10.3M / Wk 2

10). A Most Wanted Man (RSA), 729 theaters (+368) / 3-day cume: $3.24M (+21) / Per screen average: $1,334 / Total cume: $6.9M / Wk 2

11). Boyhood (IFC), 310 theaters (+203) / Per screen: $7,738 / 3-day cume: $2.39M / Total cume: $7.4M / Wk 4

12). Transformers: Age of Extinction (PAR), 1,732 theaters (-744) / Per screen: $1,294 / 3-day cume: $2.2M / Total cume: $241.2M / Wk 6

13). Tammy (WBros), 1,415 theaters (-1,147) / Per screen: $1,108 / 3-day cume: $1.5M / Total cume: $81.5M / Wk 5

14). Maleficent (DIS), 681 theaters (-396) / Per screen: $1,868 / 3-day cume: $1.27M / Total cume: $234.7M / Wk 10

15). How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Fox), 861 theaters (-497) / Per screen: $1,413 / 3-day cume: $1.21M / Total cume: $168.57M / Wk 8

16). 22 Jump Street (SONY), 828 theaters (-785) / Per screen: $1,426 / 3-day cume: $1.18M / Total cume: $188.4M / Wk 8

17). Magic in the Moonlight (SPC), 65 theaters (+48) / Per screen: $11,396 / 3-day cume: $740KM (+80%) / Total cume: $1.3M / Wk 2

18). Begin Again (TWC), 727 theaters (-517) / Per screen: $919 / 3-day cume: $668K / Total cume: $13.7M / Wk 6

19). Chef (OPRD), 350 theaters (-55) / Per screen: $1,879 / 3-day cume: $657K / Total cume: $28.3M / Wk 13

20). Edge of Tomorrow (WBros.), 402 theaters (+49) / Per screen: $1,566 / 3-day cume: $629K / Total cume: $98.6M / Wk 9

9th UPDATE, Sunday 7:06 AM: Disney just weighed in at 7:50 AM, with $94M, noting that its new, irreverent franchise had the third-highest opening of the year — behind Transformers 4′s $97.5M and its own Captain America: The Winter Soldier with $95M — and also destroyed IMAX records overseas by three times the haul of any previous August offering. Guardians of the Galaxy dropped about 17% to 18% on Saturday to take in about $31M+, so if it falls the traditional 20% today, it will end the weekend just a wee north of $94M. And with the rain, it could drive audiences into theaters.

It also takes the crown this weekend for the best August opener of all time surpassing the seven-year record held by Bourne Ultimatum ($69.2M). As I’ve reported several times, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier opening in April to $95M and Guardians opening to $94M, Disney/Marvel has had a tremendous year and the industry can thank  them for expanding the summer. The studio is done now except for releasing The Hundred Foot Journey (which stars Helen Mirren) which opens wide next weekend. So, well done, guys.

Alan_Fine_FotorUnsung hero on the picture? Alan Fine, who heads up Marvel’s creative committee and deserves much of the kudos … he took a risk that is really paying off for Marvel and Disney right now as he is the one who helped blow the dust off of the Guardians comic book to expand the Marvel universe and the summer. He is well-respected and well-versed in and clearly understands the merchandising and licensing business (ahhh, yes, Toy Fair), so a sage marketer that has helped launch so many of the Marvel films.

As one exhib said this morning, Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy “puts the summer into overtime, which is exactly what the industry was hoping for.” The year is still on a deficit from last year’s record breaker and the industry is cyclical, but Guardians was able to shave off about 2% of the summer woe — last year at this time 2 Guns opened to $27M vs. $94M for the Chris Pratt starrer.

Kevin MazurThis was a 3-D monster for the industry’s dog days of summer: Domestically IMAX took in 12% of the actioner’s gross and accounted for 8 out of the top 10 of its best performing locations; large format and 3-D screens took in a whopping 45% of the total weekend gross. For IMAX, which was going to run this pic for three weekends and should play it past that, Guardians becomes its highest August opener ever for the company with an $11.6M gross, far outpacing last year’s Elysium ($4.6M). That puts its per screen at a very high $33K. On other premiums large format screens pulled in about 8% of the gross or $7.5M.

And with 50% of its international markets opening (see Nancy Tartaglione’s international report here), Guardians‘ ww cume is now $160.4M. Yes, the Star Lord arrived and in a big way.

AP_get_on_up_sk_140801_16x9_992Universal Pictures’ Get On Up will sit at right around $14M for the weekend. The demo breakdown for Get On Up, which the studio hopes to expand is 70% African American vs. 18% Caucasian. It also had a 63%/37% split between females and males with 90% of the audience make-up 25 and older. No doubt as James Brown, known as the Godfather of Soul, would bring in the older audiences. No surprise there with the stats. It received a strong A CinemaScore. “Our exit polls certainly held up to that CinemaScore. Hopefully, the picture can find its way to a broader audience, particularly upscale,” said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution. “We got its core audience and we know there’s positive word of mouth.” It’s biggest issue is whether it will cross over. The A+ came from the 18 to 34 crowd but that makes up only 12% of the audience. The key is to get that 18 to 34 demo to come, but whether it will is a crapshoot.

Gotta give kudos to the group behind the weekend’s crown champion Guardians though, including writer/director James Gunn and his co-writer Nicole Perlman which kept the dialogue fresh and amusing, the Marvel team who gave fans another original movie and Disney’s distribution team — choosing a good launch date for this newly-born franchise. With the one-two punch of both Comic-Con and the 17 minutes that the studio showed with director James Gunn on July 7th in IMAX theaters, it just pushed this baby forward.

It also debuted as the summer is winding down, lifting spirits and the summer box office just a bit. With an A CinemaScore, this one is expected to have a great multiple. Looking forward, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is next and could bite into its demo as it is currently tracking at around $30M to $40M, next is then Expendables 3, which has been illegally downloaded something like 1M times already and that’s gotta hurt its opening weekend but it won’t eat into Guardians much anyway. So if Guardians falls 50%, it would be at $41.4M. I think it’ll remain No. 1.

So what will Guardian‘s multiple be? “It’s so early to say, but a multiple over 3 is something we think is possible,” said Disney’s distrib head, Dave Hollis. “The previous record holder (Bourne Ultimatum) did a 3.3 multiple. With more than 90% of the kids in the marketplace this weekend, and we’ll have 80% going forward during the week and it should stay at over 60% after that, we have a lot of time left with kids out of school.

“We also have the A+ plus CinemaScores in key demos for the picture so it really is a balanced split among age groups. It’s one of these movies that is appealing across all demos. The idea that we can be something meaningful inside the movie theater for the next five to six weeks, it seems like it can continue to play strongly,” noted Hollis. The specific CinemaScore breakdown on the A+ was given by those under 18 years and also for those 25-to-34 year olds … the A+ audience makes up 45% of the total who were polled. The split was 59/47 percent of males v females and 57/43 percent of above 25 and under 25. So great stats in the film’s exit polling from CinemaScore.

In the meantime, in their second weekends, Universal’s Lucy should finish down about 58% to gross an estimated $18.2M for the three-day for a total cume of $79.5M, and Par/MGM’s Hercules dropped 64% for anywhere between $10.8M and $11M, depending on the percentage drop on Sunday. Hercules’ two week cume is $52.5M.

The adult comedy starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, And So It Goes, held in its second frame with a mere 31% drop but will only have made $3.2M this weekend for a total two-week cume of about $10.3M. See Brian Brooks specialty box office story for the results off those in limited expansion and my colleague Nancy Tartaglione will weigh in with International Box Office later today. Guardians of the Galaxy opened in about 50% of its int’l territories this weekend.

NOTEWORTHY: Calvary opened on four screens (in L.A. and NY) to tally 3-day per screen average 3-day per screen average of $18K the second highest per of any picture in release except for Guardians. Its release is being handled by Fox Searchlight. IFC’s Boyhood also continues to play strong in its expansion after adding 204 screens, it came in at No. 11 this weekend with an expected tally of $2.5M and a per screen of 8K. For more details on these and the Woody Allen pic, see Brian Brooks Specialty Box office report here.

Here’s the chart for the Top Ten, with percentage possibilities for today:

1). Guardians of the Galaxy (DIS), 4,080 theaters / $37.8M Friday (includes $11.2M late nights) / $31M Sat (-18%) / $24.8M Sun. (-20%) / 3-day est. cume: $94M+

2). Lucy (UNI), 3,202 theaters (+29) / $5.4M Fri. / $7.29M Sat. (+33%) / $5.49M Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $18.2M (-58%) / Total cume: $79.5M / Wk 2

3). Get On Up (UNI), 2,468 theaters / $4.9M Fri. (includes $371K late nights) / $5.16M Sat. (+5%) / $3.8M Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $14M / Wk 1

4). Hercules (MGM/PAR), 3,595 theaters (0) / $3.16M Fri. / $4.38M Sat. (+5%) / $3.2M Sun. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $10.7M (-64%) / Total est. cume: $52.3M / Wk 2

5). Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (FOX), 3,283 theaters (-385) / $2.4M Fri. / $3.49M Sat. (+45%) / $2.7M Sun. (-23%) / 3-day cume: $8.7M / Total cume: $189.3M / Wk 4

6). Planes: Fire & Rescue (DIS), 3,241 theaters (-598) / $1.79M Fri. / $2.5M Sat. (+45%) / $2M Sun. (-20%) / 3-day cume: $6.4M / Total cume: $47.5M / Wk 3

7). The Purge: Anarchy (UNI), 2,656 theaters (-200) / $1.8M Fri. / $2.25M Sat. (+25%) / $1.57M Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $5.56M / Total cume: $62.9 M / Wk 3

8). Sex Tape (SONY), 2,500 theaters (-562) / $1M Fri. / $1.4M Sat. (+32%) / $987K to $1M Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $3.46M / Total cume: $33.87M / Wk 3

9). A Most Wanted Man (RSA), 729 theaters (+368) / $841K Fri. / $1.45M Sat. (+73%) / $1M Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $3M (+23%) / Per screen average: $4,500 / Total cume: $7M / Wk 2

10). And So It Goes (CLARIUS), 1,816 theaters (+54) / $915K Fri. / $1.36M Sat. (+49%) / $949K Sun. (-30%) / 3-day cume: $3M (-31%) / Total cume: $10.3M / Wk 2

8th UPDATE, Saturday 10:41 PM: It looks to me like Guardians of the Galaxy will end the weekend on the high end of the estimate, possibly around $95.5M as late night numbers show that it’s down only about 15% from Friday, which would put the Saturday number at around $32M. With a 20% drop expected tomorrow, this would come in better than the 9 PM numbers showed. From the late night grosses I’m looking at right now, will be very, very close to Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s $95M opening (that made, specifically $95,023,721 when it opened in April), and when the dust clears in the AM, Guardians could even beat it. Thanks to Disney/Marvel and director James Gunn, the weekend will be up about 38% from last year at this time when 2 Guns opened to $27M.

hero_James_brown_biopic_FotorIn its second weekend out, the Scarlett Johansson actioner Lucy from Universal and director Luc Besson grossed an estimated $7.35M today, which puts it at $18.1M to $18.4M for the three-day. It takes the No. 2 spot and drops 59%. Next, is director Tate Taylor’s James Brown biopic Get On Up (also from Uni) which will come in right around $14M and could do less if it drops about 30% on Sunday. Doing the math, it comes to $13.91M. The pic took in about $5.3M Saturday.

In the No. 4 position is the second weekend of the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson-starring Hercules which was good for around $4.4M to $4.7M today so that would put it at $10.8M to $11M for the weekend or down roughly 63%. Rounding out the fifth spot is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The Fox franchise in its fourth week appears to have taken in $3.5M to $3.7M today which gives it a three-day weekend of $8.25M to $8.5M. That’s how it looks late tonight. As always, numbers will be adjusted in the AM. Good night, all. It’s been a long week, a long day and a long weekend. Will update again early in the AM. 

7th UPDATE, Saturday, 9:44 PM: More numbers are coming in tonight and it looks like Guardians of the Galaxy will lessen the brunt of the summer slump by about 2% and is on track for around a $93M to $96M weekend at the moment with more information coming in as the night progresses. From May 2nd to August 3rd this summer shows about a $3.191B haul so far compared to $3.904B from the record-breaking 2013 (about an 18% difference at the moment), according to Rentrak. However, Guardians has definitely lifted the box office from the same weekend a year ago about 38% — with a Top Ten haul of around $170M to $180M compared to last year’s $117.9M.

Guardians has also, as expected, busted the previous August best-opener record held by Bourne Ultimatum — actually it will come in around 30% higher than the 2007 pic did with is $69.2M opening. detail_FotorLike we reported earlier, the Disney/Marvel pic will land very close to the April opening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier which took in $95M this year. Just a great weekend for Disney/Marvel overall.

Meanwhile, Universal’s Get On Up is on track right now to take in around $14M and change as Saturday looks to bring in around $5.2M, just slightly less than expected. This is based on 9 PM estimates. The studio’s Lucy looks like it will bring in maybe $18M for the three-day in its second weekend.

6th UPDATE, Saturday, 6:03 PM: Guardians of the Galaxy held strong in matinees today and is on track at the moment to be only 15% off on Saturday or around $32M, so the first-in-a-franchise pic’s three-day cumulative gross will be on the high-end of our estimate or around $95.6M. That’s how it stands now … of course, we’re moving into the evening and late night shows, so it could change, but regardless it’s a great weekend for Disney and Marvel. This weekend’s other new offering, Get On Up from Universal was also up around 20% in matinee showings so it’s right in line with the estimates that we posted this morning. More to come as grosses roll in for the evening and late night showings.

5th UPDATE: Saturday, 6:58 AM: All in a day’s work — Saving the universe and saving the day — James Gunn’s fun superhero actioner Guardians of the Galaxy launched with a $37.95M Friday (which includes those $11.2M Thursday late nights) for Disney/Marvel helping to breathe life into the box office after a seven-week slump. Depending on family moviegoing today, the movie could play anywhere right now from $92.5M to $95.5M, which means it could end up higher than the opening of Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95M). If it drops 15% on Saturday, we’re looking at the higher end of the estimate.

GetOnUp4-1The other newcomer, Get On Up, the James Brown biopic from Universal Pics, is going to open to No. 3 behind Universal holdover Lucy (which is going to drop 60% in its second weekend out). The Luc Besson-directed Lucy, which last week launched Scarlett Johansson as a female action lead not to be messed with, shot in with a $5.4M Friday for a three-day weekend of anywhere between $17.4M to $18.3M. It got a C+ CinemaScore last weekend.

Get On Up slid across the stage with an estimated $4.9M Friday so its three-day weekend is on track for around $14.7M. In its second weekend, Hercules (PAR/MGM), is losing its strength for a percentage drop of 64% for a weekend of maybe around $10.6M. The other freshman last weekend, the adult comedy from Rob Reiner that stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, is expected to only drop 34% in its sophomore frame but it opened so soft that its two-week cume should only sit at $10.2M.

NOTEWORTHY: A Most Wanted Man which marked one of the last films of the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman (what a real loss) snuck into tMostWantedManhe Top Ten last night to No. 9 in its 2nd weekend of release. In its expansion, it will end the weekend with a cume of around $6.9M on a solid per screen of $4,200. In addition, Richard Linklater’s beloved Boyhood is also expanding and still playing very well for IFC Films, with an impressive per screen average of $7,450. It should add another $2.3M for a four-week cume of $7.4M. And Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight from Sony Pictures Classics is rolling out into 48 more theaters to find a $10,600 per screen as the movie has its loyal Woody fans. Calvary also bowed in 4 theaters this weekend from Fox Searchlight and with a Friday play of $18,976 and a possible 45% Saturday increase, the studio is looking at around a $16K to $18K per screen. The drama/black comedy stars Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, whose name might not be well known, but his face and his acting chops — and versatility — certainly are (Braveheart, The General, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).

Here’s the chart for the Top Ten, with percentage possibilities for today:

1). Guardians of the Galaxy (DIS), 4,080 theaters / $37.8M Friday (includes $11.2M late nights) / $30.3M to $32.2M Sat (-15% to -20%) / 3-day est. cume: $92.2M to $95.5M

2). Lucy (UNI), 3,202 theaters (+29) / $5.4M Fri. / $6.8M Sat. (+25%) / 3-day cume: $17.4M to $18.3M (-60%) / Total cume: $78.2M / Wk 2

3). Get On Up (UNI), 2,468 theaters / $4.9M Fri. (includes $371K late nights) / $5.8M Sat. (+20%) / 3-day cume: $14.7M / Wk 1

4). Hercules (MGM/PAR), 3,595 theaters (0) / $3.18M Fri. / $4.2M Sat. (+35%) / 3-day cume: $10.6M (-65%) / Total est. cume: $52.3M / Wk 2

5). Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (FOX), 3,283 theaters (-385) / $2.4M Fri. / $3.3M (+40%) / 3-day cume: $8.4M  / Total cume: $189M / Wk 4

6). Planes: Fire & Rescue (DIS), 3,241 theaters (-598) / $1.79M Fri. / $2.45M Sat. (+35%) / 3-day cume: $6.1M / Total cume: $47.2M / Wk 3

7). The Purge: Anarchy (UNI), 2,656 theaters (-200) / $1.8M Fri. / 3-day cume: $5.4M / Total cume: $62.8 M / Wk 3

8). Sex Tape (SONY), 2,500 theaters (-562) / $1M Fri. / $1.3M Sat. (+25%) / 3-day cume: $3.4M / Total cume: $33.8M / Wk 3

9). A Most Wanted Man (RSA), 729 theaters (+368) / $841K Fri. / $1.3M Sat. (+60%) / 3-day cume: $2.6M to $3.1M (+15%) / Per screen average: $4,200 / Total cume: $6.5M / Wk 2

10). And So It Goes (CLARIUS), 1,816 theaters (+54) / $915K Fri. / $1.2M Sat. (+40%) / 3-day cume: $3M+ (-34%) / Total cume: $10.3M / Wk 2

4th UPDATE: Friday, 9:55 PM: Disney/Marvel have to be over the moon tonight over the opening night of Guardians of the Galaxy which is expected gross around $36M to $38.5M today — that includes the record $11.2M in Thursday late nights — for a possible 3-day cume of anywhere between $92M to $96M. We’re doing it based on a 20% decline on Saturday and Sunday. We will see how the family audiences help it tomorrow as it’s playing like gangbusters across demos. Is it front fan-loaded? We’ll see soon enough. It received a very solid A CinemaScore across the board with A+ scores for the younger audiences (both under 18 and 25 to 34) so expect a very good multiple on this one.

Guardians will take the Top Ten film total to close to $170M or 36% to 40% above last year’s weekend to plump up the box office numbers and break the seven-week jinx that has been plaguing this summer. Well done.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige is, once again, the Star Lord star maker. Just as they did with Robert Downey, Jr. and Iron Man, they have launched a new superstar in Chris Pratt and a new, original franchise. I spoke to Feige at the premiere after the film on July 21 and he said, “People were asking for something original. I think we gave it to them. I hope everyone likes it.” Don’t have to hope anymore, Mr. Feige. Done with humor that works, too.99694570-e077-11e3-aba5-67ae9c5b874b_get-on-up

The marketing looked like full-on camp, but the Peter Quill and Rocket Raccoon characters make a fun, dynamic duo, the Vin Diesel character of Groot is loveable. The next installment can’t come fast enough for Marvel fans — although it won’t arrive until July 28, 2017. And director James Gunn and Fiege have already mapped out some ideas for it involving Pratt’s character Peter Quill and the relationship between he and his father and continuing the story about Drax, played by WWE’s star Dave Bautista. No word on the development of the somewhat sardonic, scene-stealing raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper).

The other opener, in the No. 3 spot, is Get On Up, the biopic about the Godfather of Soul James Brown and his troubled life from The Help director Tate Taylor. This well-acted ensemble piece — Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and the twins Jamarion and Jordan Scott who played Brown as a child — may take in around $15M to $16M this weekend. It received another solid A CinemaScore which is great news for word of mouth. The music scenes alone are and adrenaline rush worth seeing.

Meanwhile, Universal’s Lucy and Paramount’s Hercules are set to take a little tumble as they are expected to be down over 60% in their second weekends. Lucy will take the No. 2 spot. The adult comedy And So it Goes is holding well, down only 33% but still nothing to write home about … it’s total cume in its second weekend is expected in at around $10M+. Here’s the chart:

1). Guardians of the Galaxy (DIS), 4,080 theaters / $36M+ to $38.5M Friday (includes $11.2M late nights) / 3-day est. cume: $92M to $96M

2). Lucy (UNI), 3,202 theaters (+29) / $5.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $16.9M to $18M (-61%) / Total cume: $78.2M / Wk 2

3). Get On Up (UNI), 2,468 theaters / $5.2M to $6M Fri. (includes $371K late nights) / 3-day cume: $15.4M to $16M / Wk 1

4). Hercules (MGM/PAR), 3,595 theaters (0) / $3M Fri. / 3-day cume: $10.4M (-65%) / Total est. cume: $52.1M+ / Wk 2

5). Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (FOX), 3,283 theaters (-385) / $2.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $8.3M to $8.6M / Total cume: $189.3M / Wk 4

6). Planes: Fire & Rescue (DIS), 3,241 theaters (-598) / $2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $6.5M / Total cume: $47.7M / Wk 3

7). The Purge: Anarchy (UNI), 2,656 theaters (-200) / $2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $6M / Total cume: $63.3M / Wk 3

8). Sex Tape (SONY), 2,500 theaters (-562) / $1.2M Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.8M / Total cume: $34M+ / Wk 3

9). And So It Goes (CLARIUS), 1,816 theaters (+54) / $950K Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.5M (-31%) / Total cume: $10.6M / Wk 2

10/11). A Most Wanted Man (RSA), 729 theaters (+368) / $ 760K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.96M (+10%) / Total cume: $6.7M / Wk 2

Transformers (PAR), 1,732 theaters (-744) / $700K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.7M to $2.9M+ / Total cume: $241M to $242M+ / Wk 6

3rd UPDATE, Friday 6:02 PM: More numbers are rolling in for Guardians of the Galaxy right now which is on track at the moment to take in anywhere from $33M to $36M tonight for a three-day weekend that is right now in the $88M to $95M range and will get a better idea in a couple of more hours so stay tuned, but this looks to be the case at the moment. Matinees have ended incredibly strong. Regardless, this is another great hit for the daring duo of Disney/Marvel. Stay tuned.

2nd UPDATE, Friday, 1:33 PM: Matinee showings of James Gunn’s The Guardians Of The Galaxy is hot as can be and after those record late night numbers we are now looking at a picture that could play past $95M — if this strength holds up, which we believe it will. It plays to families, with kids so Saturday and Sunday moviegoing should be strong and tonight’s CinemaScore is also expected to be high. It’s taking all the air out of the box office right now. And checking in with Fandango, they said today is their biggest ticketing day of the summer. So Guardian tickets are selling like hot cakes. Of the more than 1,000 ticket buyers, 55% plan to see the movie more than once and 63% plan to bring in their kids to see the film. It’s outselling the first Thor and Captain America and even the first Iron Man in the same point of their sales cycle so Marvel has itself the start of another original film franchise. See below for comparisons between Guardians and the first Iron Man.

get-on-up-james-brownMeanwhile, the James Brown biopic Get On Up is doing just that and will likely see a three-day weekend of around $14M … one estimate shows it at $14.6M and an easy third place behind the holdover Lucy, which may fall around 57% to 60% in its second weekend to log around $18M. So, as predicted yesterday, Universal is likely to take both the No. 2 and No. 3 box office spots and Get On Up could surpass Lucy as the rest of the day plays out. Hercules looks to come in fourth right now with $10M to $11M, falling harder than expected. Rounding out the Top Five will be Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes from Fox, who just inked a three-year deal with its director Matt Reeves.

1st UPDATE, Friday, 7:46 AM: The Star Lord has arrived — I’m speaking not of the industry’s new superstar Chris Pratt, but of writer/director James Gunn as Guardians Of The Galaxy has rocketed in late nights soaring to $11.2M which is north of Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s Thursday’s for Disney/Marvel — and for the rest of the industry which is laying hopes that the summer offering will boost box office out of its slump. It started its late nights at 7 PM in roughly 80% to 85% of its total weekend runs or 3,260 to 3,400 locales. The Captain went onto gross $95M in its opening weekend. Guardians could easily do $40M tonight for an $80M to $90M+ weekend as the tracking with kids is very strong … which means family moviegoing day should help boost the picture from being only fan front-loaded. It’s bowing in 4,080 locales tonight, making it the widest release of any film ever in the month of August, according to Rentrak, who notes that the last biggest opener was G.I. Joe: Rise Of The Cobra in 2009 with 4,007 runs. I would expect a pretty strong CinemaScore tonight as well.

IMAX’s 354 screens generated $1.9M (or 17%) of last night’s gross, which accounts for the biggest August pre-release ever for IMAX; it’s also the second-best advance Thursday for Disney or a Marvel title for IMAX behind only Iron Man 3. Internationally, the numbers are rolling in as well (see Nancy Tartaglione’s international report).

Disney/Marvel is a potent combination — it opened with Captain America: The Winter Solider which was the biggest April opener ever and now will boost the summer with Guardians Of The Galaxy which will end up the biggest August opener, surpassing Bourne Ultimatum‘s $69.2M. So Disney/Marvel will have opened and closed the summer (okay, the Cap opened in April) with record openings. For comparisons, here’s how other tentpoles fared:

Thursday Night Fights

“It’s an encouraging start with what looks like will be a great day ahead of us and an exciting run,” said Dave Hollis, exec VP distribution for the Walt Disney Studios. I’d say. And the social media metrics for Guardians are also out of this world.

10525974_10152685413143313_8077211896195814551_nGuardians is tracking across the social media universe with a total engagement of 14M over the last week, with the No. 1 superhero Vin Diesel’s 82M+ Facebook fans pounding his self-posted stills over the weekend and one post — an I Am Groot post — in excess of 1.4M likes in one case.

“That’s stellar,” said Marc Karzen, CEO of RelishMix which tracks social engagement over the new Big Three networks of Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Facebook total reach with all of its stars combined posting and promoting reached 108M hits. WWE star Dave Bautista 5.7M+ fans are adding 11K fans a day … yes, a day. And Bautista changed his cover photo to that of him in character as his character Drax.

And Jimmy Kimmel Live posted the world premiere trailer which has banked over 17M views and 20K comments, adding to a total view count of 58M.

Universal’s James Brown biopic Get On Up shuffled in with $371K which is fairly normal for this kind of film, nothing special, nothing bad … just straight up pretty in line with estimates of $12M to $14M for the three-day debut. Did a solid number in urban areas where it played; it started at 8 PM in 1,769 locations.

PREVIOUSLY: Thursday, 11:47 PM: Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy and Universal’s James Brown biopic Get On Up both bow tonight in late nights but all eyes are on Guardians which storms into theaters at 7 PM. This is a title with a relatively unknown actor in the lead (Chris Pratt) and about minor characters in the Marvel Universe, so this is relying quite heavily on the Marvel brand. Will they wish they had Bradley Cooper in the starring role and Chris Pratt as the voice of the scene-stealing Rocket raccoon at the end of the day? Naawww. It works fine just as it is … better than fine. We expect it to go north of $75M. And Universal’s Get On Up may be only in the mid-teens as Lucy‘s second-weekend percentage drop is not likely to keep it out of the No. 2 spot. So No. 3 right now is up for grabs, depending on Hercules second weekend drop.

Related: Can ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Save Summer Box Office?

Get-on-Up_612x408Get On Up, from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Mick Jagger’s Jagger Films, bows in 2,466 theaters this weekend. Chadwick Boseman portrays the legendary singer in the film. Audiences will remember him from portraying Jackie Robinson in 42. Directing this one is Tate Taylor who helmed the 2012 Best Picture nominee The Help which won best supporting actress for Octavia Spencer who is also in Get On Up. With Viola Davis in this one, too, audiences can expect a quality film. It opens tonight at 8 PM.

But  let’s get back to the film of the weekend: Guardians.  Yeah, OK the marketing for Guardians comes across, at times, as a bit campy, but Marvel fans were asking for something original and Marvel definitely delivered. The film bows tonight in 4,080 theaters, making it the widest August release ever. It will be on 350 IMAX screens for the next few weekends; in addition, it debuts on 3,200 3D, 350 large formats and 240 D-Box — yes, D-Box. eJmbwjwE_400x400This is a picture that will play well with kids — and an exec noted that 90% of them are still out of school (HUGE plus) and the tracking shows it on fire with all quadrants right now. This could be the biggest August opening ever, surpassing Bourne Ultimatum‘s seven-year record of $69.2M.

Guardians is likely to propel the very amiable Pratt’s career in a big way not only in the States but across the globe as 50% of Guardians overseas business is being launched this weekend with key territories being the UK, Russian, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea. Of 1,000 Guardian ticket buyers surveyed by Fandango, 85% are looking forward to seeing Pratt and Guardians is now the No. 1, non-sequel pre-seller this year.

downey-jr-where-should-the-iron-man-franchise-goIf you think of it, this has some similarities with Iron Man … a lesser-known Marvel title with an actor who was likable, but not popular at the box office and the powers that be at Marvel created a reason for audiences not only to be interested but to keep coming back for more. And it could do similar stellar business.

Everyone is looking for Guardians to lift the box office out of its summer slump. The tracking on this picture really popped today following numerous screenings of the picture and buoyed by a solid Rotten Tomatoes score. Sure there are mixed reviews, but who listens anymore to critics, right? More tomorrow after the Star Lord arrives.