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James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy has been, without question, the completely dominating force at the August 2014 box office. Debuting on the first of the month, the film opened with a record-setting $94 million, and has spent 19 of the last 31 days holding the number one spot in the domestic top 10. It was just last week that we learned that this unbelievable success had led the movie to become the biggest blockbuster of the summer, but now it has accomplished a feat even bigger than that: Guardians of the Galaxy is the biggest film of 2014 in the United States so far.
With an estimated $16 million taken in over the last three days, according to Box Office Mojo, the 10th film from Marvel Studios has now made over $274 million in the U.S., becoming the highest earner at the domestic box office going back to the start of January. In order to reach this position, Guardians of the Galaxy had to beat out some pretty big heavy-hitters, including Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction ($244 million since June), Phil Lord and Chris Miller's The LEGO Movie ($257 million since February) and Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259 million since April).
Guardians of the Galaxy has undoubtedly been propelled her in the States by unending positive buzz from critics and audiences as well as the movie's rewatchability, but it hasn't caught fire quite the same way overseas. The film has been performing well aboard, having so far brought in $273 million, but that number pales in comparison to both Transformers 4 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, which have made $828 million and $512 million, respectively. Guardians of the Galaxy is still waiting to come out in big markets like Germany, Italy, Japan and China, which will certainly pad the numbers, but even while existing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe the sci-fi blockbuster doesn't have the same kind of big solo brand names that the aforementioned titles do.
So what is the ceiling for Guardians of the Galaxy at this point? Looking at the next month and factoring the movie's performance over the last few weeks, prognostications suggest that the title could be first $300 million hit of the year - possibly making as much as $320 million. Kind of amazing, isn't it? At this point in time last year, nobody in the world could have predicted that Guardians of the Galaxy would end up beating out Captain America: The Winter Soldier (most were too busy worrying that it would be Marvel's first huge flop), and it's even more impressive when you consider the quality and and box office strength of the Cap sequel. This has once again been an absolutely huge year for Marvel Studios, and it will be fascinating to see which directions this success will take them going into the future.