It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a big-budget sci-fi epic was the box office success story of last weekend. The surprise is which big-budget sci-fi epic it was.
To the shock of absolutely no one, the weekend’s #1 slot went to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel’s slightly tired but modestly entertaining comic book sequel. Guardians brought in $145 million domestic (and another $128 million abroad), improving substantially upon the opening weekend grosses of the first film, which is not exactly the trend these days. So yeah, a new Marvel movie made an obscene amount of money, which is not exactly newsworthy.
Here’s what’s fun: take a look at the per-screen average chart for the weekend, where you’ll find the second-biggest movie of the weekend was… the new re-release of Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky’s meditative, mesmerizing 1979 philosophical sci-fi art film. Sure, it only opened on one screen, in sharp contrast to Guardians’ seventy-bajillion*. But on that one screen, it grossed a staggering $19,785, besting all the rest of Guardians’ competition.
So yes, on one hand, comic book cinematic universe sequel; on the other, re-release of 1979 Russian art-house fave. Somewhere in between lies… the future?