This weekend the Marvel Cinematic Universe scored its 15th consecutive number one opening as the ensemble sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicked off the summer movie season with a thunderous start, grossing an estimated $145M. The PG-13 release from Disney averaged a sturdy $33,368 from 4,347 locations and will likely find its way north of the triple century mark.
Star-Lord and pals posted a debut that was a hefty 54% bigger than the $94.3M bow of the first Guardians from August 2014, which exceeded industry expectations at the time. That’s more growth from part one to part two than seen by past Marvel sequels like Iron Man 2 (+30%), Thor: The Dark World (+31%), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (+46%). The first GOTG was a leggy summer hit that grew its fan base over time and the studio’s move to the potent first weekend of May helped the sequel to absorb more business in the first weekend.
Volume 2 kicked off the weekend with $56.3M on Friday, including $17M from Thursday pre-shows. While recent Marvel summer kickoff films saw Saturday falls of 19% (Captain America: Civil War) and 33% (Avengers: Age of Ultron), GOTG2 slipped only 9% to $51.1M, showing good buzz and less of an upfront rush.
Though a muscular start, the new Guardians did not rank among the top five May openings of all-time. Those include Avengers ($207.4M), Ultron ($191.3M), Civil War ($179.1M), Iron Man 3 ($174.1M), and Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M). It does rank as the second biggest May debut without Iron Man in it. Overall, GOTG2 scored the 17th largest opening weekend in box office history, tenth best for any summer film and ninth biggest for a comic book movie. Studio data showed that the audience was 56% male and 60% 25 and older. Reviews were positive and the A grade from CinemaScore indicates ticket buyers liked what they paid for.
With the global run of GOTG2, the MCU has now smashed through an astounding $11 billion in combined worldwide box office from 15 films spanning a period of nine years that started with 2008’s Iron Man. Home video, TV rights, and merchandising have brought in billions more in revenue. The grand plan has paid off handsomely as there have been no flops for this bulletproof brand. Plus there is much more to come with this July’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, a reboot of sorts with box office gold Iron Man as part of the story. Then November sees Thor: Ragnarok which features the Incredible Hulk. Marvel already has the first weekends of May locked up in 2018 with Avengers: Infinity War, 2019 with another Avengers film, and 2020 with an untitled movie. A dozen films are on the calendar just from the MCU with more to come down the road.
In overseas markets, Galaxy grossed an estimated $123.8M in its second weekend, including a $48M debut in China, which was 75% bigger than its predecessor. The international total from 55 markets is now $282.6M, putting the global haul at $427.6M and rising fast. Japan, its final market, opens next weekend. In another week or so, the sequel will beat the $774M of the first Guardians and should certainly find its way north of $900M by the end of its run.
With Guardians hogging up 79% of all ticket sales for the top ten, the rest of the list featured spring leftovers picking up small slices. Three-time chart-topper The Fate of the Furious settled for second place, decelerating by 57% to an estimated $8.5M and putting Universal at $207.1M to date from North America. The overseas haul has climbed to an eye-popping $951.2M, allowing F8 to surpass both Avengers movies to become number seven all-time at the international box office. The global gross is now a staggering $1.16 billion and counting.
Spending its sixth weekend in the top five was Alec Baldwin’s The Boss Baby, which slipped only 34% to an estimated $6.2M as the DreamWorks Animation hit continues to show good legs with family audiences. It’s banked $156.7M to date with the worldwide total now up to $434.9M. Tumbling 57% in its second weekend, How to be a Latin Lover grossed an estimated $5.3M, pushing the cume to $20.7M for Lionsgate.
Holding up well against recent testosterone tentpoles was Beauty and the Beast, which took fifth place in its eighth weekend of play with an estimated $4.9M. With a towering $487.6M to date, the Disney smash has now passed Pixar’s Finding Dory to take the number eight spot on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters with the half-billion mark within reach. Beauty‘s worldwide tally now sits at a stunning $1.19 billion.
The star-driven flop The Circle fell sharply to an estimated $4M, off 56%. Total is only $15.7M for STX. The Indian blockbuster Baahubali 2 tumbled 69% from its record opening weekend to an estimated $3.2M, boosting the sum to $16.2M. That is more than any Bollywood film has ever made in North America.
Fox Searchlight’s leggy hit Gifted kept itself in the top ten once again with an estimated $2.1M, off 39%, for a $19.2M total. It’s the top-grossing specialty release of 2017 so far. Dropping 47% was the comedy Going in Style with an estimated $1.9M for Warner Bros. while Sony’s Smurfs: The Lost Village fell 49% to an estimated $1.8M. Totals are $40.6M a piece.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $183M, which was down 21% from last year when Captain America: Civil War opened at number one with $179.1M; but up 53% from 2015 when Avengers: Age of Ultron held the top spot in its second weekend with $77.7M.