It took an eyebrow raising nine months, but Hollywood finally has its first $300 million grosser of 2014.  Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy" crossed the magic mark on Saturday and ended the weekend with an estimated $305.9 million. The James Gunn action adventure had already surpassed another Marvel flick, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," to become the no. 1 movie of the year (so far) on August 28.

Budgeted at a reported $170 million, "Guardians" has been a huge success for Marvel and Disney pulling in over $611 million worldwide.  It now ranks as the fifth highest grossing Marvel Studios movie ever after "The Avengers" and all three "Iron Man" films.  If Disney can hold onto theaters it has an excellent chance at surpassing "Iron Man 2's" $312.4 million for no. 4.

Earning raves from Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr., and even Al Pacino, "Guardians'" success has been an anomaly in what has been a very weak year for Hollywood stateside.  The industry suffered its worst summer box office this century and just nine films have earned over $200 million. For comparison's sake, three films released in 2013 earned over $400 million and a fourth passed $300 million.  In 2012, three films also earned over $400 million and another two passed $300 million.  The last time Hollywood had to wait this long for a $300 million grosser was in 2001.

There is hope on the horizon, however.  Future 2014 releases "Interstellar," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1" and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" are all expected to hit that vaunted $300 million mark domestically.

Moreover, if all goes according to plan, 2015 should have Hollywood and the nation's theater owners breathing much easier. "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Minions," "Bond 24," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 2" and "Star Wars: Episode VII" are all seen has easy $300 million earners or, in some cases, $400 million or more.

"Guardians of the Galaxy 2" is currently scheduled for July 28, 2017.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.