We know Chris Pratt is an expert at playing a slacker. Can he also play a Star Lord? We'll find out tonight when he brings the first public footage of Guardians of the Galaxy to Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Here's a 15-second teaser, released this morning by Marvel Entertainment:

Fans get their first look at Marvel's "Cosmic Avengers" tonight. Sources: Marvel Entertainment, YouTube.

Those who follow my coverage of Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Marvel properties know I'm optimistic about this film. Why? Because it's an interesting cast of characters whose story plays well among comics fans like me. Sales of the latest series (penned by writer Brian Michael Bendis) have spiked in recent months as interest in the film grows. More than 61,000 copies of January's issue (#11) made their way to comics shops, according to estimates published by The Comics Chronicles. Similarly, reaction to tonight's trailer affords us the opportunity to better gauge the film's chances at the box office.

For Disney and Marvel Studios, Guardians is a risky but necessary bet since a successful film would introduce fans to new cosmic elements of the Marvel Universe. Elements that are foundational in the comics but which aren't yet a meaningful contributor to the company's on-screen success.

The stakes are also higher. Budgets for Marvel films have inched higher in recent years as the studio has become more ambitious. For example, Disney spent an estimated $170 million to make Thor: The Dark World vs. $150 million for Thor. We don't yet know the budget for Guardians, but a minimum of $150 million seems likely, which means anything less than $300 million gross at the worldwide box office might be considered a defeat. My guess is it won't come to that.

Rather, between Gamora, Rocket, Star-Lord, Groot, and Drax the Destroyer (in order, below), I think Guardians has more than enough firepower to best its box office foes. Tonight, we'll finally get to see them in action.

Guardians Star Lord Gamora Drax Rocket

Guardians of the Galaxy opens on Aug. 1 in U.S. theaters. Credit: Marvel Entertainment.

Now it's your turn to weigh in, fellow fans. Are you excited for Guardians of the Galaxy? What do you expect from the movie? Leave a comment in the box below to let us know where you stand.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Google, Netflix, and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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