Maane Khatchatourian:

Following the “Avengers” bump, “Guardians” is continuing Marvel’s stellar track record of boffo openings. Marvel pics have collectively grossed $6.3 billion since 2008’s “Iron Man,” making it the most successful film franchise after “Harry Potter.” “Guardians” will hopefully lift the summer box office, which is down more than 20% from 2013.

Once again showcasing why it was genius of Disney to buy Marvel.

Brian Hiatt on how Stan Lee created the X-Men:

He had already done the radioactive-accident thing at least three times, so Lee went in another direction: “I took the cowardly way out,” he says. “I figured, hey, the easiest thing in the world: They were born that way. They were mutants!” He called the team the Mutants, until Marvel’s publisher told him kids didn’t know the word. Instead, Lee settled on the X-Men (“I figured, they have extra powers, and their leader is Professor Xavier”). Lee spent maybe a day on the proposal and another day plotting the issue; Kirby, a pulp genius World War II vet who’d chomp on his cigar while cranking out as many as five pages a day, designed all the characters as he drew the first story.

The best part of the story is that Marvel was at the point of near bankruptcy when Fox greenlit the first X-Men film. Nine years later, Disney bought the company for $4 billion — which would be considered a steal now, given just how much of Hollywood box office receipts Marvel IP now drives.

Adam B. Vary:

That kind of unmistakable branding is a precious creative commodity in Hollywood. “On any given weekend, you release a movie from Paramount or Universal or Warner Bros., but [audiences] are kind of brand agnostic,” said the senior studio exec. “But when it’s Marvel in this universe, I think that that brand is establishing more clout and more goodwill with each passing movie. That’s rare. Only certain brands really have that kind of following, where consumers really identify with a brand when they’re making they’re choice to go spend $15 on a movie ticket.”

There’s no question that the Marvel films under Disney all have a certain feel to them, which is impressive. At this point, I’d undoubtedly go see one even if I wasn’t familiar with the source material.

Adam Rogers on how Marvel was able to pull off the amazing feat of tying its films together, and how DC is unlikely going to be able to do the same:

DC declined to participate in this story, and representatives wouldn’t say who, if anyone, was overseeing the broader DC cinematic universe to come. The company has announced that after Snyder’s Batman-Superman movie, it’ll make one about the Flash, and then Justice League. The Flash is also slated to appear on the CW television series Arrow, though DC hasn’t said whether it’ll be the same version of character. And since Christian Bale has said he won’t play Batman again, the movie seems likely to be a reboot, especially because Snyder seems to be taking his inspiration from the dystopian future Batman comic The Dark Knight Returns, where a sixtysomething Batman comes out of retirement and ultimately fights Superman. That’s the kind of team-up that could make joining the Justice League together awkward.

They badly need their own Kevin Feige, and it seems unlikely that Zack Snyder will be the guy.