Disney’s next Marvel superhero movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” is tracking for an opening in the $60 million range, according to pre-release data that came online Thursday.
That’s a strong early projection for the film, which will introduce a new set of lesser-known Marvel Comics characters when it opens nationwide on Aug. 1.
James Gunn directs the action-adventure epic about a band of extraterrestrial misfits on the run after stealing a coveted orb, and co-wrote with Nicole Perlman. “Guardians” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Karen Gillan. Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Josh Brolin will voice characters.
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Marvel movies have been front and center this summer, including “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which debuted in April. But “Guardians” is based on a comic-book series less well known those properties, and most moviegoers will be unfamiliar with characters like Star Lord (Pratt), Rocket Raccoon (Cooper), Thanos (Brolin) and Groot (Diesel).
It’s big bet for Disney, with a production budget of $170 million. But the payoff will be considerable if the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is able to launch another franchise.