Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy opened in the United States last week, and looks to have a very bright future, seeing that based on advanced buzz along, Marvel has already locked in a sequel for 2017 while Thursday it earned $11.2 million, besting established franchises like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a Thursday debut.
Worldwide, its earned over $160 million; pretty impressive for a movie that’s based on a bunch of characters literally no one was familiar with before the movie.
Though what’s most interesting is how risky a venture it actually is, for I think three reasons:
- First, there’s nothing like Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Studios features, from Iron Man to The Avengers, have always featured a balance of action as well as humor. That’s has always been a part of the Marvel formula, but Guardians is different. Some have described it as a comedy, and while there’s plenty that funny, it’s more a case of viewers caring and being invested in the characters–particularly Groot and Rocket–that they come off as fully-realized characters that just happen to be a raccoon and an alien tree, as opposed to just a bunch of pixels.
- Second, as many have stated prior, there are no recognizable characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (other than Thanos, and I think it’s reasonably same to assume that no one is seeing it for him–which is something that Sony should keep in mind before doing a movie based on The Sinister Six, most of whom are unknown to most viewers and whom are also villains) which goes without saying is a huge risk, made even more so when you take into account that it was directed by James Gunn, who prior directed two smaller films, Slither and Super, which cost 17.5 million to produce.
For both movies. While Guardians cost $170 million.
And when you combine this fact with the fact that Gunn doesn’t particularly like making movies (around the 12: 58 mark) then the odds were more than even that Guardians could have potentially been Marvel’s weakest performer, if not a box office failure.
And if that were all, it would have been extremely risky, but there’s more. The leading man in Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt, who played Starlord/Peter Quill, has been in movies like Moneyball, Her and The Lego Movie, though as a part of an ensemble cast, and not a lead. Arguably, the most well-known cast member is Bradley Cooper, and he’s a voice actor (if viewers haven’t been keeping up with the buzz around the movie ,they may not even know that it’s Cooper), which also happens to be the same with Vin Diesel.
Zoe Saldana is probably the most recognizable character, seeing that she’s played in features like Avatar, Colombiana, The Losers, among many others.
But most importantly, what Marvel has done with Guardians of the Galaxy is something that most people will probably either not notice, or take for granted. Marvel has been, since Iron Man, teaching viewers to accept tonal shifts in their superhero movies. All–literally every single one–of the Marvel-branded movies are not only great adventures, but pretty funny in their own right. But the thing is, Guradians of the Galaxy is so damned weird that, if viewers accept it (and all indications indicate that they do) then Marvel can do all sorts of things that viewers won’t necessarily expect.
In other words, they can be weird as they want to be, which is useful when you creating a movie based on, I don’t know, a certain Master of the Mystical Arts…
Or maybe something even stranger (pardon the pun)…