In the middle of its sixth weekend at the domestic box office, Guardians of the Galaxy is poised to hit a milestone among all Marvel comic feature adaptations: The offbeat superhero film about a ragtag bunch of galactic thieves and thugs has hit the No. 1 spot more than any movie title in the Marvel universe to date; a grand total of four weekends. Granted, it’s not a consecutive run at No. 1, however, Guardians beats Marvel’s previous leggy titles, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers, both of which had respective three-weekend No. 1 holds last April and during May 2012.
Guardians opened at No. 1 during Aug. 1-3 with $94.3M, then hit the top box office spot during Aug. 22-24 and Aug. 29-31. As of today, several studio estimates show Guardians pacing ahead of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by 76%.
However, the domestic haul for Guardians, which is inching closer to the $300M mark, is nearly half of Avengers stateside count of $623.4M, so what gives? Essentially, Guardians has been able to blaze a trail at the B.O. given the lack of strong franchise titles in the slumpy frame of late August and September. Not one title is eating into its grosses, however, there is something to be said when other franchise titles prop each other’s grosses during a vibrant frame (read the holiday season when such sequels like Thor and The Hunger Games can coexist and reap fortunes). At first it appeared that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was biting at Guardians’ heels, but Paramount’s Michael Bay-produced reboot relaxed at the turnstiles last weekend. On Friday, TMNT‘s B.O. of $1.5M trailed Guardian’s take by 44%. Compared to DC comic book adaptations at the domestic B.O., Guardians is tied with 2008’s Dark Knight. The Christopher Nolan-helmed sequel also held No. 1 for four weeks. However, Guardians can hold the title for most No. 1s among all comic book movies if it can fend off newcomers Warner Bros.’ Dolphin Tale 2 and Screen Gems’ No Good Deed next weekend.