Image from Marvel Studio’s “Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol 3”.
James Gunn’s ragtag group of criminals-turned-heroes bagged $114 million at the domestic box office in its third foray into theaters.
disney and Marvel Studio’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” raked in an additional $168.1 million from international markets over the weekend, bringing its worldwide total to $282.1 million over its three first days in theaters.
“The long-standing tradition of a Marvel movie kicking off the summer movie season continues, and with a debut movie over $100 million,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
Marvel Cinematic Universe films now account for half of the dozen films that have opened to over $100 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada since the start of the Covid pandemic.
“Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” fell a little short of expectations, which expected the film to make between $120 million and $150 million in its first frame. It also fell short of the $146.5 million “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2” raised in 2017.
“Expectations certainly started higher for the opening of ‘Vol. 3’, but perhaps that was unfair for a trilogy capper that was actually the sixth film to feature these characters in less than a decade” , said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “The broader collateral damage of mixed reception to several post-‘Endgame’ movies and streaming series is certainly worth considering, as well as the fact that ‘Vol. 3 “was sold as a stand-alone film without the kind of hookup that would carry big consequences for the MCU at large.”
Robbins said the film acts more as an epilogue for a number of popular Marvel characters and less as a spreadsheet for future stories in the Marvel Universe. But that doesn’t mean the film can’t continue to drive foot traffic to theaters, he said.
“If early audience reactions are any indication, this sequel’s box office legs could stretch in the coming weeks and bring back some of the casual Marvel audience that chose to wait for word of mouth rather than rush opening weekend,” Robbins said.
The film drew an estimated 8 million viewers to domestic theaters over the weekend, more than the 7.2 million that came out for Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” in February. Some 28% of those moviegoers opted to see the film in a premium format, spending an average of $4.34 more per ticket, according to data from Entelligence.
“‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3’ marks the start of what promises to be one of the most important and blockbuster-filled periods from May to Labor Day in industry history”, said Dergarabedian, noting that ticket sales between May and September could top $4 billion, on par with pre-pandemic levels.
The release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is also the symbolic end of Gunn’s time with one comic book studio and the start of his reign at another.
The writer and director was chosen to direct Warner Bros.’ DC Studios, alongside producer Peter Safran, to bring new interpretations of Superman, Batman, and even Swamp Thing to the big screen. Gunn and Safran would also develop a number of television shows for the studio.