Did ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Just Doom ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ To Box Office Failure?

Three Fools debate whether a huge box office for Marvel’s latest epic creates unreasonable expectations for the unknown “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Tim Beyers
Tim Beyers
Apr 13, 2014 at 7:14AM
The Business

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is still an unknown for many fans. Credit: Marvel Entertainment.

A talking, gun-toting raccoon? A living tree that spouts nothing but one-liners? How can the rag-team team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy be expected to perform like a Marvel movie when Captain America: The Winter Soldier has set the bar so high, earning more than $300 million worldwide for Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) in the film's opening weekend?

Host Ellen Bowman puts these questions to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

Nathan says The Winter Soldier enjoys an "Avengers bump" that has helped it catapult past $200 million in international grosses, notable when you consider that Captain America: The First Avenger only earned $176.7 million during its entire run in overseas theaters, according to data supplied by The-Numbers.com.

Guardians of the Galaxy won't enjoy a direct tie-in to Marvel's the Avengers, Nathan says, which could hurt box office returns when the movie opens on Aug. 1. (This truism may also explain why Marvel has been so aggressive marketing the movie in other media.)

Tim says that The Winter Soldier sets a high bar not only in terms of its financial performance, but also in terms of how it shapes the Marvel Cinematic Universe. New enemies introduced on screen alter the equation for Marvel's Agents of SHIELD while unleashing new threats to the rest of the Avengers.

Taken together, these factors could bolster expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy. And yet Tim notes that there are plenty of skeptics when it comes to director James Gunn's try at introducing the more cosmic elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So long as that remains true, the movie should have a shot at beating estimates and joining the studio's growing list of franchises.

Now it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What sort of box office performance are you expecting from Guardians of the Galaxy? Please watch the video as Ellen puts Nathan and Tim on the spot, and be sure to check back here often for more 1-Up On Wall Street segments.