Tuesday saw the release of three new “Guardians of the Galaxy” character (or solo) posters and another poster Wednesday promoting the movie’s Korean release. That same day it was announced that the movie’s soundtrack will be available in stores July 29. According to “The Hollywood Reporter”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” comic book spinoffs, released in comic book stores also on Wednesday, sold out the same day “on the distribution level.”
Each of the three new character posters portrays a different character: Rocket, a rifle bearing raccoon warrior; Groot, a humanoid tree creature that somewhat resembles Treebeard from the “Lord of the Rings” movies (only without the beard); and the alien beauty Gamora pointing a sword towards the observer. The Korean poster depicts the heroes in a group along with comrades Drax and Star-Lord.
The soundtrack, according to “The Hollywood Reporter”, is a mix of 1970s pop songs. It is the first soundtrack that “is not an orchestral score”, says the “Reporter’s” Graeme McMillan. Some of the tracks are David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”, the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. The promotional hype is really anticipating this movie to be a blockbuster. But even though promotional products such as these may sell the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie to audiences, will they make up for the characters’ minimal degree of comic book super hero popularity?
Is even a niche of die-hard Marvel comic fans big enough to make the movie a blockbuster success? “Ghost Rider” also had a considerately big comic book fan following, but its 2007 movie adaptation did poorly at the box office and its sequel did even worse. Even some of the longer time popular super heroes’ films that were not only hyped by fans before the movies’ releases but also with commercial companies’ products flopped. That was the case with the “Hulk” in 2003 and DC’s “Green Lantern” in 2011. That same year, Carl’s Jr. promoted the “Green Hornet” film with collectables such as key chains and kids’ meal toys yet it also failed.
Other than the comic book fan base, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was never that popular. In fact, it had a very modest and slow beginning dating back to the late ‘60s. The first appearance of this intergalactic team of heroes appeared in “Marvel Super-Heroes” #18 in 1969. They appeared off and on as guest characters in Marvel comic book titles throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, titles such as “Thor”, “The Avengers” “and the anthology series Marvel Presents”, says Chris Arrant of Newsarama.com. The team did not get their own ongoing series until 1990 which was initially written and illustrated by Jim Valentino. The series ran up to issue # 62 in 1997 but then was re-launched with several new characters in 2008. It’s this version’s characters that the movie is mostly based on, especially Rocket and Groot, according to McMillan in an article at Wired.com. “Most of the Guardians you’ll see in director James Gunn’s upcoming flick are a pretty recent invention,” he says.
Even so, the “Guardians” are not well known super heroes that far beyond their fan base. They’re not as familiar to a general audience as are “The Avengers”’s Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. All of these (with the exception of the Hulk’s 2003 movie) had their movie success in their own films before “The Avengers” movie debuted. But since Marvel Studios has done so well since after its “Ghost Rider” flop, especially with the above four super heroes’ movies, and since its TV series, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, has been having a good run (it’s going on its second season), perhaps “Guardians” have a good chance to succeed to the point of making a sequel. But the movie itself will have to appeal to both Marvel fans as well as non-Marvel fans.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is set to release in theaters Aug. 1. It’s directed by James Gunn, and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel.
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