Marvel adventure Guardians of the Galaxy has topped the North American box office in its debut weekend, taking $94 million.
Guardians of the Galaxy, which stars some of the lesser-known characters from the comic book universe, knocked science fiction thriller Lucy off the top spot.
The space adventure’s takings set a record for a film opening in August.
Get On Up, a biography of the soul singer James Brown, debuted in third with $14 million.
The Guardians of the Galaxy ensemble casts includes Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt plus the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.
Guardians of the Galaxy has topped the North American box office in its debut weekend, taking $94 million
The film also secured the third biggest opening of 2014, coming just behind the $95 million debut of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April and the $100 million launch of Transformers: Age of Extinction in June.
A Galaxy sequel is already set for release in 2017. Marvel’s next films are the The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Both movies are due for release in 2015.
Marvel comic book adaptations The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past have also enjoyed success this year.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier has topped the US box office for a third week.
Starring Chris Evans, Robert Redford and Scarlett Johansson, Captain America: The Winter Soldier made $26.2 million, beating avian animation Rio 2 into second place.
Heaven is for Real, the story of a young boy who claims to have visited heaven during a near-death experience, was number three over Easter weekend.
But Johnny Depp’s new sci-fi thriller Transcendence fared poorly.
Directed by Batman cinematographer Wally Pfister, Transcendence sees Johnny Depp playing a dying computer genius, who uploads his consciousness to a supercomputer and achieves a problematic digital afterlife.
After suffering poor reviews, the movie opened in fourth place, taking $11 million, a fraction of its $100 million production budget.
It is Johnny Depp’s third movie in a row to stumble at the box office, following last summer’s The Lone Ranger and Tim Burton’s comedy misfire Dark Shadows.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier has topped the US box office for a third week
“As we approach the summer movie season, box-office drawing power becomes more about the concept of the movie rather than its star,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.
“It may not have been so much (about) Johnny Depp, but audiences right now like brands that they know.”
The US top 10 also contained three movies with a religious theme. Following Heaven is for Real came biblical epic Noah at 9, and God’s Not Dead at 10.
God’s Not Dead, about a religious freshman college student who debates with his professor on the existence of God, has made $48 million over the last five weeks, even though it is playing in far fewer venues than the blockbuster fare at the top of the chart.
North American box office Top 10:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($26.6 million)
Rio 2 ($22.5 million)
Heaven is for Real ($21.5 million)
Transcendence ($11.2 million)
A Haunted House 2 ($9.1 million)
Draft Day ($5.9 million)
Divergent ($5.75 million)
Oculus ($5.2 million)
Noah ($5 million)
God’s Not Dead ($4.8 million) Source: Rentrak [youtube 7SlILk2WMTI 650]