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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Heading for $150 Million Weekend in U.S.

Variety logo Variety 5/5/2017 Dave McNary
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is heading for a stellar opening weekend with about $150 million in North America, early estimates showed Friday.

The Disney-Marvel tentpole is kicking off the summer box office with a bang, with an expected domestic opening in the range of $150 million to $170 million at 4,347 locations, while Disney has been projecting $140 million to $150 million. If the sequel hits $160 million this weekend, it will be only the 11th title to reach that milestone.

“Vol. 2” scored $17 million in Thursday preview grosses alone — the third-largest for a Marvel title after “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” with $27.6 million, and “Captain America: Civil War,” with $25 million. It’s the biggest preview number for any title this year.

The first “Guardians” movie introduced a band of misfit superheroes — Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket — teaming up against evil forces. The 2014 film was a relatively unknown property that managed to smash records for the month of August when it opened with $94 million on its way to $333 million domestically and $440 million overseas.

James Gunn has returned to direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” from his own script. The film is replete with dazzling visual effects and carries a price tag of about $200 million.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” opened in 53% of the international marketplace with $106 million last weekend and a foreign total of $167 million as of Thursday. It debuted in South Korea on Wednesday with $3.3 million ($4.4 million including previews) for the biggest opening day of 2017. The film opened with $2.8 million on Thursday in Russia, 41% ahead of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s launching in China on Friday, so the worldwide total this weekend should be in the $250 million range.

The sequel has impressed critics, earning a 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Shot for shot, line and line, it’s an extravagant and witty follow-up, made with the same friendly virtuosic dazzle,” Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman wrote in his mixed review.

 

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