'Guardians of the Galaxy' sets record

The film made $94m in ticket sales at the weekend, setting a record for an August film opening.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Producer Kevin Feige and Executive Producer Louis D'Esposito. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Guardians of the Galaxy, Walt Disneys offbeat space adventure featuring extra-terrestrial misfits and a talking raccoon, made $94 million in ticket sales at the weekend, setting a record for an August film opening.

The films strong beginning, however, isnt likely to jumpstart a lacklustre summer box office season.

The 3D movie, which stars lesser-known characters in Disneys Marvel comic book universe, added $66.4 million from international markets, for a global debut of $160.4 million, Disney said on Sunday.

The film outgunned last weekends leader, science-fiction thrillerLucythat collected another $18.3 million in sales at domestic theatres, according to estimates from Rentrak.

Get On Up, a biography of the soul singer James Brown, was third with $14 million in its first weekend in theatres.

_Guardians of the Galaxy _stars an ensemble cast that includes Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Chris Pratt. After positive reviews, the film was the years biggest Thursday night opening with $11.2 million in sales starting with 7pm shows.

Even before the films opening, Walt Disney said it was planning a sequel for release in July 2017.

Head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Dave Hollis attributed the films strong performance to a combination of momentum started byTransformers: Age of Extinctionin June, skilful marketing and strong reviews.

Disney had marketed the films lighter moments in trailers and commercials, including a machinegun-firing raccoon, to expand its popularity beyond traditional Marvel movie fans.

The movie features a soundtrack of music from the 1970s, including the songsHooked on a Feelingand Spirit in the Sky.

Transformers: Age of Extinction, just passed $1 billion in global box office returns, according to Paramount Pictures.

Hercules, starring DwayneThe RockJohnson as the legendary muscle man, was fourth for the weekend with $10.7 million.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apeswas fifth with $8.7 million. The film has totalled more than $189.3 million in sales in US and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak.