The "Guardians of the Galaxy" tally beat out other 2014 heavy hitters, including "Amazing Spider-Man 2" ($8.7 million), "Transformers: Age of Extinction" ($8.8 million), "Godzilla" ($9.3 million), and, up until last night, the year's reigning champion "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" ($10.2 million). If Marvel had to get beaten by somebody, at least it was one of their own movies.
With a pull like this, it stands to reason that the movie could amass over $100 million this weekend alone (Forbes puts the number between $112-$140 million, although that seems to be excessive, even after Thursday's numbers). Clearly, Marvel was aware of how the movie, which stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and the vocal stylings of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, was tracking, since they announced at Comic Con last week that a sequel was already in the works, for a plumb summer 2017 release date.
This movie is going to be a big hit -- it's infectiously likable and the kind of thing that people will go out of their way to recommend, both in person and on various social media platforms. People won't just be excited about the sequel; they'll be clamoring for it.