|The Guardians team|
In a disappointing summer for blockbuster shoot-em-up movies, Guardians of the Galaxy has been a standout.
Released August 1, later than most summer films, GOTG reported gross US sales of more than $280 million by the end of the Labor Day weekend. World sales will inflate the number by several times.
Across the board, however, summer movie attendance was down 15 percent or more compared with 2013.
One question worth asking is, why was this movie such a big deal? It certainly had a couple of points working against it.
-- Its heroes were minor characters in Marvel comic book releases and so were unfamiliar to
the potential audience.
-- The competition included more well-known heroes like Spider Man, Iron Man, X-Men,
Captain America and Transformers, and the audiences in most cases were familiar with the
heroes from previous movies.
Some have ventured that GOTG is just a good movie, with more positive reviews from critics and viewers. Others have suggested that people like GOTG because it is funny.
I think that the last point -- humor -- may be the key. The Guardians team featured an animatronic tree and raccoon. Tree and raccoon superheroes? Now that's funny. Plus the Guardians heroes were unlikely underdogs, not peace-loving tough guys ostensibly provoked into battle by very thin plot developments.
Maybe GOTG sales were up and traditional blockbuster sales were down because people are growing weary of formulaic movies. Maybe Guardians was poking a little fun at traditional summer releases. Maybe Guardians viewers enjoyed being in on the joke.
We can always hope.