NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walt Disney Company's (DIS - Get Report) latest Marvel franchise Guardians of the Galaxy has blasted to the top of the box office to become the highest-grossing flick of the summer.
The surprise box office hit has generated $251.8 million in North America over its four-week run, toppling Transformers: Age of Extinction (produced by Paramount Pictures, a Viacom-run (VIAB - Get Report) studio) which earned $243.8 million domestically. Fellow Disney film Maleficent is firmly in third place with a $237.58 million domestic haul.
This year's season has been weak for what is commonly the period when studios release their tent-pole films, big-budget bets which generally far exceed their production budget in gross box office. Over the 2014 season, releases generated total domestic gross of $3.63 billion, 25.2% lower than a year earlier. No film this season was able to exceed the $300 million mark domestically, unlike in previous years, when at least one film surpassed the $300 million threshold.
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