Not only did Marvel Studios and Disney release the right movie for summer 2014 with Guardians of the Galaxy, they released it at exactly the right time. For the most part the summer of 2014 has been a disappointing one at the U.S. box office. The top two movies of the year at the U.S. box office, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Lego Movie, were actually released before the summer officially started.
There have been some critically-praised movies released, such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Godzilla, but those three movies all had very serious tones. There hasn't really been a fun summer action movie that both fans and critics could rally around. Transformers: Age of Extinction might have been the biggest success so far among summer movies at the box office, but it was hardly embraced by critics.
Fans were waiting for a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy to come along. It's exactly the type of movie that inspires repeat viewing. While completely serious movies can be enlightening to watch, it's really the fun movies that leave audiences laughing that fans often return to for multiple viewings. Guardians of the Galaxy is just such a movie.
And as far as timing goes, Marvel Studios and Disney likely couldn't have picked a better time. Most of the studios have already released their biggest blockbusters, so Guardians of the Galaxy will face limited competition in August. In fact, the biggest competition Guardians of the Galaxy will face is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, which is getting poor reviews, and an Expendables 3 film, which leaked early online.
It's very possible that Guardians of the Galaxy could stay in one of the top two positions at the U.S. box office for all of August. While Ninja Turtles and The Expendables 3 might pass Guardians of the Galaxy on their release weekends, it's likely that Guardians of the Galaxy will soon pass them back, as good word-of-mouth should keep Guardians of the Galaxy around for longer.
In its first eight days, Guardians of the Galaxy has made more than any other film besides Transformers: Age of Extinction has made at the U.S. box office in a comparable time frame. And Guardians of the Galaxy's $146.7 million eight day total only trails by around $2 million to Transformers: Age of Extinction's $148.9 million total. It very likely that in the next couple of days Guardians of the Galaxy will actually move ahead of the pace of Transformers: Age of Extinction.
It's a pretty good bet that Guardians of the Galaxy will reach the top spot at the U.S. box office either in late August or early September. However, it's probably a bigger question if it will be able to stay there until the end of the year, because The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is set to be released in November, and the last Hunger Games movie made $424 million at the U.S. box office.