Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Flies to $17.5M in Previews
Marvel and Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 started off its domestic box office run with a franchise-best $17.5 million in previews, not adjusted for inflation.
Thursday shows started at 3 pm local time. The preview number also includes select Imax shows on Wednesday.
Overseas, the movie has earned $35 million in its first two days from 47 markets. It continues rolling out across the world today. Disney sources say they are encouraged by early returns.
Guardians 3 continues a long tradition of Marvel movies kicking off the summer season at the box office. James Gunn, director of the series, is bidding farewell to his work for Marvel after agreeing to run rival DC Studios alongside Peter Safran.
The preview number is on par with recent Marvel pic Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumaniawhich went on to post a three-day domestic opening of $106 million.
In 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earned $17 million in previews on its way to a $146 million domestic debut. The first Guardians landed $11 million in previews on its way to a $94.2 million debut, not adjusted for inflation.
Heading into the weekend, most recent tracking shown Guardians 3 opening in the $120 million range domestically. Initial tracking showed it launching to $130 million, so the drop no doubt concerned Marvel and Disney.
It’s unusual for a title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to open behind the previous installment in a respective series but not unheard of. Sequels that didn’t open as high included Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverwhich was released as the COVID-19 pandemic still raged, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Insiders at Marvel and parent company Disney are keen on Guardians 3 and believe it will benefit from good word of mouth. As of now, however, the film currently sports the lowest Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of Gunn’s three movies. It’s also the longest in the series at two and a half hours.
Box office analysts say they wouldn’t be surprised if Guardians 3 comes in higher domestically, and that tracking has been complicated by the massive success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Its voice cast is led by Guardians star Chris Pratt, who had to find time to promote both movies.
Marvel could use a hit after the disappointing performance of Quantumaniawhich opened ahead of the two previous ones Ant-Man installments but topped out at a franchise-low $476.4 million worldwide.
In terms of the Guardians franchise, the 2014 film earned $333.7 million domestically and $439.6 million for a global booty of $773.3 million, according to Comscore, unadjusted. Guardians Vol. 2 took in $863.8 million worldwide, including $389.8 million domestically and $473.09 million overseas.
Guardians 3 reunites Gunn with Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Newcomers include Chukwudi Iwuji as villain the High Evolutionary and Will Poulter, who plays classic Marvel character Adam Warlock.
Elsewhere, Screen Gems and Sony’s romantic comedy Love Again started off its nationwide run with $240,000 in previews.
Written and directed by Jim Strouse, the film stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan and Celine Dion (who provided multiple new songs for the female-skewing pic).
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