In terms of box office, Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to be a risky bet at the beginning of the year; with a budget easily reaching $150 million, it  was difficult to tell if Marvel’s lesser known heroes could compare to the ticket sales of other heroes like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.

Guardians is certainly one of our most anticipated movies of August – read our review – and we predicted it would be the top of the box office this weekend; not a difficult task given July’s poor ticket sales. However, the Guardians may blow Marvel’s other heroes out of the box office, too.

Deadline is reporting that Guardians of the Galaxy earned $37.95 million on Friday, including $11.2 million from Thursday late night showings. Deadline predicts, depending on family moviegoing today, that Guardians could pull in between $92.5 million and $95.5 million throughout the weekend, making it a challenger to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which broke April box office records by raking in $95 million on its own opening weekend.

While there was a bit of a change-up between Marvel’s Phase One and Two films in terms of which heroes led at the box office – The Winter Soldier surpassed Thor: The Dark World this time around – the Guardians of the Galaxy opening weekend could have further reaching significance (and not just in terms of space travel).

Marvel has largely found success in its cinematic universe by developing its major heroes, giving them their own film series, and bringing them together for The Avengers films. However, with Guardians possibly exceeding The Winter Soldier’s box office opening, that may open the door to a much more expansive MCU with other lesser well known Marvel heroes getting their own films – and successful ones at that.

Though Marvel has been on this path for a while, certainly because Fox is building its own separate X-Men universe and Sony is holding on to the rights to Spider-Man and Sinister Six, Guardians of the Galaxy was the real test of whether non-Avengers could be prosperous in terms of ticket sales.

Given these predictions for its opening weekend, the success of Guardians could pave the way for Marvel to announce other films such as The Inhumans or Black Panther. Whether the studio will take this cue to announce any other movies for the rest of the upcoming dates they have scheduled remains to be seen.

Guardians of the Galaxy is now playing in theaters.

Source: Deadline