The Marvel release landed in U.S. theaters with a smashing $94 million debut last weekend, crushing estimates that had pegged an opening in the $70 million range. Those otherworldly results lifted the overall domestic box office.
Going into the weekend, summer ticket sales were off more than 20% from last year’s record-breaker. Thanks to “Guardians,” they now are down 18%, according to Rentrak. The summer box office currently stands at $3.2 billion compared with $3.9 billion at the same point in 2013.
“Summer ain’t over,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “To move the needle one percent in one weekend is a lot. If we can get so we’re 12 or 15 percent down by the end of summer, that’s a more manageable deficit.”
After eight straight weeks of declines, last weekend was up 34.6% over the previous year’s haul.