Guardians swoops to top US box office chart

Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana with 'Rocket Raccoon' and 'Groot' in Guardians of the Galaxy Have raccoon, Quill travel: Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana with the other 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

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Disney's Marvel adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy, has topped the North American box office in its debut weekend, taking $94m (£55.8m).

The space adventure, which stars some of the lesser-known characters from the comic book universe, knocked science fiction thriller Lucy off the top spot.

Guardians' 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 $14m (£8.3m).

The Guardians of the Galaxy ensemble casts includes Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt plus the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.

The film also secured the third biggest opening of 2014, coming just behind the $95m (£56.4m) debut of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April and the $100m (£59.4m) launch of Transformers: Age of Extinction in June.

Marvel magic

A Guardians of the 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 next year.

Marvel comic book adaptations The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past have also enjoyed success this year.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, said Marvel's success was "unprecedented".

"This is a brand that transcends any character within their universe," he said.

"The mere mention of the name Marvel is enough to get people into the movie theatre. That's somewhat rare. Pixar obviously has a similar cachet, but for Marvel to have four films this year open with over $90m is amazing. It's unprecedented success."

US and Canada box office

Source: Rentrak

1. Guardians of the Galaxy - $94m

2. Lucy - $18.3m

3. Get on Up - $14m

4. Hercules - £10.7m

5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - $8.7m

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