Box Office Milestone: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Becomes Top Summer Film in U.S.

 Disney

Pulling off the biggest box office surprise of the year, James Gunn's August tentpole Guardians of the Galaxy has become the top grossing film of the summer in North America, outsmarting the likes of Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The Marvel Studios and Disney movie is expected to finish Saturday with a domestic total of roughly $246 million, eclipsing the $243.3 million grossed by Age of Extinction. By Sunday, Guardians' North American cume will have climbed to $251 million or more (and it's poised to win the weekend ahead of new YA film adaptation If I Stay).

On Friday, Guardians of the Galaxy passed up fellow Disney title Maleficent ($237 million), until then the summer's No. 2 title in North America.

Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past ranks No. 4 on the domestic summer chart with $232.6 million, while Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man are all but tied at No. 5 with $202.9 million.

Worldwide, Paramount and Michael Bay's Age of Extinction remains the summer leader by far, with a global gross of $1.05 billion.

Guardians' global total to date is $430.7 million and climbing.

Heading into summer, no one predicted that Gunn's quirky superhero tentpole would emerge the victor in North America. Opening Aug. 1, the movie amazed with a record domestic debut and continued to impress from there.

Featuring a ragtag group of unlikely galactic heroes, Guardians stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace and Bradley Cooper, who voices the role of Rocket the raccoon. Vin Diesel, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro also star.

Guardians wasn't a cheap proposition and cost $170 million to produce. Marvel and Disney have already announced plans for a July 28, 2017 sequel, with Gunn returning to direct.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM

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