"Guardians of the Galaxy" manages to keep itself on top of the box office on Labor Day weekend with an estimated $16.3 million. New entries "The November Man" and "As Above, So Below" debuted below par, allowing "Galaxy", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "If I Stay" to take the top 3 spots.
It's particularly an achievement for "Galaxy" this week as it beats "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" to become the highest grossing film of the year to date Stateside. The Marvel-Disney blockbuster, that hit theaters on August 1, raked in a total of $274.6 million domestically after taking over the start of the holiday weekend. The second "Captain America" film grossed a total of $259.7 million in North America.
Nevertheless, this year's summer box office remains a downer compared to last year's. At slightly above $4 billion, 2014's box office is down 15 percent from $4.75 billion in the summer of 2013. "The summer of 2014 was confounding, it was exasperating, and it was a transition between one record summer in 2013 and what everyone believes will be a record summer in 2015," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.
He added, "This summer was just never predestined to be a record breaker. And there were so many unquantifiable things. The World Cup may have had an effect as a distraction. The Fourth of July fell on a Friday, which no one in Hollywood wants. But no one is saying, is this the end of going to the movies. Because we all know it's not."
In response to the accolade, director James Gunn said, "To quote my favorite little monstrosity, 'Oh... Yeah'. And although io9 may be right, that people like the movie because it's funny, I like to believe it's because WE GAVE A SH*T. You aren't numbers to us. You deserve to be given something we the creators believe in and that isn't just seeking a big opening weekend. I love my characters, I care about the quality of the movie, and Marvel was cool enough to let us take some risks."
He continued, "Hopefully, THAT'S the lesson - that we'll see more spectacle movies coming out of Hollywood that the filmmakers actually believe in, and that take risks, NOT just a bunch of superhero or space movies trying to be funny."
"TMNT" added $11.8 million in its fourth weekend while "If I Stay" took an additional $9.3 million in its second weekend. In the format of found-footage, horror thriller "As Above, So Below" managed to gather an estimated $8.3 million. Comedy "Let's Be Cops" rounds up the top 5 list with approximately $8.2 million. "November Man", although starring Pierce Brosnan, suffered from poor reviews. The adult-skewing spy film succumbed to an estimated $7.7 million debut and landed at the sixth spot.