ByJohn Lally, writer at
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John Lally

Guardians of the Galaxy just passed Man of Steel as the 10th all time highest grossing comic adaptation of all time. Take a moment to allow that to sink in.

Now, let me explain why this should not have happened.

  • Superman is one of the best selling, most well known comic book franchises in the world. Guardians of the Galaxy could probably be best described as a "second-tier" title - which had more of a small, loyal audience.
  • Man of Steel had a massive marketing budget; Warner Brothers spent $150 million dollars on marketing. Disney reportedly spent $30 million dollars to promote Guardians of the Galaxy. Let's remember that Guardians of the Galaxy is not a well-known title and Superman is a household name, yet Man of Steel had a marketing budget that was 5 to 1 of Guardians?
  • Man of Steel had a cast of NUMEROUS "bankable" stars, if there is such a thing anymore. The cast included Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, and featured Henry Cavill, who certainly looks great in the poster, and I believe does a good job in the role. The most well known actors in Guardians were: Vin Diesel who said, "I am Groot," and "We are Groot," Bradley Cooper as the VOICE of Rocket and Zoe Saldana. Chris Pratt, the star of the movie was a relative unknown when this came out; huge emphasis on WAS. The Man of Steel cast as a group was better known than the Guardians cast.

So if there are people out there who think that Guardians of the Galaxy obviously should be able to out-do Man of Steel in the box office, I would love to know what I am missing?

Here are 3 reasons why I think this is happening to get the pot stirring:

  • Better storytelling. Both of these movies had big production budgets. Man of Steel spent $200MM (that they are telling us about) and Guardians spent $170MM. And so they both had awesome visual effects, etc… I believe James Gunn, Director of Guardians, told a better story. Zach Snyder seems to be a genius when it comes to directing a visual film. He is an innovator and a pioneer when it comes to the technical, but I think he still is growing as a storyteller. He was partnered with Christopher Nolan and some great writers, but it still seems like the story wasn't as strong as it could be given the amazing source material of Superman.
  • Performances. Some people aren't going to like this, but I think that Gunn and his cast put together a better on screen performance than the Man of Steel folks. In the opening sequence when Pratt says, "Starlord," he nailed that scene. When Groot says "We are Groot" - that was beautifully setup. All of this is even more impressive when you consider that two of the principle characters were voiceovers. The Man of Steel group sometimes felt stiff and over rehearsed. There weren't as many natural moments in Man of Steel, part of that was the way the movie was written - but part of it was the way the performances were delivered and edited.
  • Music. Again, this is going to draw some hate mail - but I think that Hans Zimmer was outdone. Here is a quote from Gunn that I think makes my point for me about the music. "…the songs are cultural reference points,” intended to help the audience better connect to the heroes, and to a universe that is so foreign. “It’s striking the balance throughout the whole movie, through something that is very unique, but also something that is easily accessible to people at the same time,” Gunn explains. “The music and the Earth stuff is one of those touchstones that we have to remind us that, yeah, [Quill] is a real person from planet Earth who’s just like you and me. Except that he’s in this big outer space adventure.” I liked the score in Superman - a lot, Hans Zimmer is a genius. However, it seems like Snyder and team said - "do your magic Hans," while the music in Guardians was like another performer in the film. Even if you aren't a fan of the music from that era, it doesn't matter - it is brilliantly woven into the telling of the story. This "mix tape" is breaking all kinds of records for soundtrack sales. Gunn, once again, made great choices.

I will close on this thought. People have consistently failed to gauge Guardians. Here is a post which is an epic fail in predicting the box office outcome... So what do you think? Are we finally gauging it right?


Are you surprised that Man of Steel has been outdone at the box office by Guardians of the Galaxy?


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