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‘Guardians Vol. 2’ Soars To $145M Weekend Opening After $51M+ Super Saturday – Sunday Update

Deadline logo Deadline 5/7/2017 Anthony D'Alessandro
© Provided by Deadline

9th Update, Sunday 8AM after 12:40AM post: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 raked in a fantastic $51.1M on Saturday, and Disney/Marvel is calling the opening weekend for the James Gunn-directed movie at $145M. That’s not an outrageous forecast by Disney as industry estimates also show GOTG2 coming in at $144.6M. Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione will be expanding on the international story, but all-in worldwide to date for this $200M budgeted movie before P&A is $427.6M. The first GOTG had a similar negative cost, an estimated global $147.4M P&A spend and churned a profit after all ancillaries of $204M.

What was the big surprise this time around with GOTG2?

For Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis it speaks volumes that Marvel “can take characters who many were unacquainted with before the first film, and in the course of the next film, deliver an opening that’s on par with some of the biggest openings in the movie business. It’s a reflection of how consistent Marvel has been –their $11 billion worth of success– and how they can take chances like this. It’s not a franchise that is quote unquote safe or normal as other movie franchises. The challenge here was taking things that moviegoers loved from the first and making it bigger. This is the 17th biggest domestic opening of all-time, and any time a movie can rank in the top 20, you sit back and say ‘Wow.’ These guys are at the high end of their game, and can deliver movies that cut through all the noise clutter and alternative choices that moviegoers have nowadays.”

The big question is whether GOTG2 gets to $1 billion worldwide, and if it does, it will be the fifth Marvel title to do so after Avengers ($1.5B), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.4B), Iron Man 3 ($1.2B)Captain America: Civil War ($1.15B). But for the nth time in a row a Marvel superhero has kicked off summer, and what’s impressive about GOTG2 is that it’s an extension of a deeper universe series that continues to be loved by fans. At a Marvel media day two weeks ago, the company’s boss Kevin Feige remarked that he did not have a stat on how many times audiences attend one of their comic book movies, “But if you look at Beauty and the Beast, I don’t think a movie doesn’t get to those kind of numbers unless there’s multiple viewings. We make our movies to be seen multiple times, not just because we want people to keep buying tickets, which we do, but because we grew up obsessing over the movies we love. It’s fun to revisit movies again and again.”

Currently, GOTG2 ranks as the sixth best on that list after Avengers ($207.4M), Age of Ultron ($191.2M), Captain America: Civil War ($179.1M), Iron Man 3 ($174.1M), and Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M) (all Marvel character movies).

Disney expects Sunday to dip 26% from Saturday for $37.7M. For GOTG2 to hit a $150M domestic opening, it would need to make $42.7M today, which would be $300K more than what Captain America: Civil War grossed on its Sunday.

Ever since the studios began rolling Thursday previews into Friday’s B.O., Saturday typically registers as a dip. It’s in these cases that the hasty observation is made that a film is frontloaded. But if you back out GOTG2‘s $17M Thursday night from its $56.2M Friday (which would then be $39.3M), we see that Saturday’s $51M technically reps a 30% hike over Friday. That Friday-to-Saturday surge for GOTG2 outstrips that of Captain America: Civil War (+21%), Iron Man 3 (+17%), GOTG (+16%), Avengers (+12% Saturday over Friday) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (-1%), that is when you compare those films’ Saturdays to their pure Fridays (less Thursday cash). Now, that says a lot about GOTG2‘s powerful word of mouth: Each day the sequel’s grosses have improved. Also, Disney points out that families came out, and business in such cities like New York (where Friday was depressed because of storms) rebounded. PostTrak continues to report that 76% of all moviegoers are giving GOTG2 a definite thumbs up to their friends; that’s one point above GOTG‘s 75%.

Throughout the weekend GOTG2 director James Gunn has been keeping the pic’s spirit alive, answering fan questions and retweeting their reactions:

PostTrak updates their audience polls throughout the weekend and GOTG2 is still strong among older men and women over 25 with 32% and 26%, respectively. Guys under 25 rep 25% of all moviegoers, while females of that age are at 18%. All this means is that Marvel fans are aging up, and that those who were under 25 when the first movie opened crossed over. Strong positive reactions among all four demos with M25+ (94%), M25- (93%),  F25+ (91%) and F25- (88%). Disney shows that 72% adults came out for GOTG2, 19% families, and 9% teens. Fifty-four percent of all GOTG moviegoers were Caucasian, 19% Hispanic, 12% African American and 9% Asian. Imax hubs delivered $13M of GOTG2‘s weekend stateside with the large format exhibitor ranking in seven of the sequel’s top 10 locations.

Disney’s marketing once again played up GOTG2‘s unique tone, amplifying the music-and humor-driven energy that helped the first film set box office records (global take: $773.3M). The trick with marketing remained keeping as much of GOTG2 a surprise, specifically the revelations of Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell’s characters in the film. Said Marvel boss Kevin Feige at the press day two weeks ago, “It feels like there’s been a lot out there. There’s little (content in the marketing) out there, and I think audiences will be surprised how much more there is to the movie.” Thirty-nine percent of all PostTrak respondents said GOTG2 blew away their expectations compared to 32% on the original 2014 film.

After the sequel was announced in 2014 at Comic-Con, the GOTG gang stopped by last year at Hall H in San Diego with exclusive footage and the Ravagers making a surprise entrance.

The GOTG2 pre-kickoff Super Bowl spot drew a tremendous amount of chatter on Twitter, and was one of the highest-watched spots in the 24 hours following the Big Game per Relish Mix with close to 35M views. The sequel’s first teaser trailer launched in October on Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show; with the second teaser debut at Brazil Comic Con in December setting a Marvel Studios teaser record with 81M views in its first 24 hours (that record was later surpassed by Thor: Ragnarok).

Baby Groot has been the posterboy for the movie not only in PR, but in a TV promo campaign estimated at $80M across various partners including Ford, Geico, Go-Gurt, and Dairy Queen. Groot became the first SportsCenter Mascot ever and the focal point of a first-time partnership with Twitter and Fooji to launch #BabyGroot On Demand Delivery Program in several metro areas. Baby Groot and Rocket were also featured in Facebook’s first-ever camera filters. All weekend long, Sirius radio has been playing the GOTG2 soundtrack on its ’70s Channel.

The top 10 films for May 5-7 based on studio-reported Sunday AM estimates:

1.). The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (DIS), 4,347 theaters / $56.2M Fri. (includes $17m previews)/$51.1M Sat/$37.7M Sun/ 3-day cume: $145M / Wk 1

2.) The Fate Of The Furious (UNI), 3,595 theaters (-482) / $2.2M Fri. /$3.8M Sat/$3.4M Sun/ 3-day cume: $8.5M (-57%) / Total cume: $207.1m / Wk 4

3.) The Boss Baby (Fox) 3,284 (-455), $1.3M /$2.8m Sat/$2M Sun/3-day: $6.1M (-34%)/Total: $156.7M/Wk 6

4). How To Be A Latin Lover (PANT/LG), 1,203 theaters (+85) / $1.3M Fri. /$1.6M Sat/$2.2M Sun/ 3-day cume: $5.25M (-57%)/ Total: $20.6M/Wk 2

5). Beauty and the Beast (DIS), 2,680 theaters (-475) / $1.2M Fri. /$2.3M Sat/$1.4M Sun/ 3-day cume: $4.9M (-28%) / Total cume: $487.6M / Wk 8

6.) The Circle (STX/EUR), 3,163 theaters / $1.16M Fri. /$1.79M Sat/$1.07M Sun/ 3-day cume: $4M (-56%)/Total:$15.7M/ Wk 1

7). Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (GINF) 425 theaters / $828K Fri./$1.5M Sat/$907K Sun/ 3-day cume: $3.2M (-69%) /Total:$16.1M/ Wk 2

8.) Gifted (FSL), 1,874 theaters (-341) / $572K Fri. /$915k Sat/$568K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.05M (-39%) / Total: $19.2M Wk 5

9.) Going in Style (WB/VR), 2,033 theaters (-728) / $530K Fri. /$830k Sat/$540K Sun/ 3-day cume: $1.9M  (-47%) Total: $40.6M / Wk 5

10.) Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sony), 1,902 theaters (-652) / $355K Fri. /$865K Sat/$600K Sun/ 3-day cume: $1.8M (-49%) / Total: $40.6M / Wk 5

NOTABLES:

The Dinner (ORC), 509 theaters / $213K Fri. /$277K Sat/$266k Sun/ 3-day cume: $755k / Wk 1

Sleight (BHT), 591 theaters (+26) / $191K Fri.  /$335K Sat/$218k Sun/ 3-day cume: $743k (-56%) /Total: $2.9M/Wk 1

3 Generations (TWC), 6 theaters / $5K Fri. /$8K Sat/$7k Sun/PTA: $3,3K/ 3-day cume: $20k / Wk 1

7th Writethru, Saturday 7:47AM: Even though it’s Saturday morning, it’s still too early to call the opening weekend for Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Projections have simmered from what we saw yesterday with the James Gunn-directed movie now barreling toward a $138.1M three day, per industry estimates. What is certain is that GOTG2 made $56M on Friday, including $17M from Thursday previews. We saw these estimates late last night, and they’re sticking into this morning. Perhaps there’s a pop tonight to propel GOTG2 over $140M. Keep this in mind: 14 May releases have opened to more than $100M at the box office, and as of right now, GOTG2 ranks as the sixth best on that list after Avengers ($207.4M), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.2M), Captain America: Civil War ($179.1M), Iron Man 3 ($174.1M), and Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M) (all Marvel character movies).

What’s clear is that GOTG2 is taking all the wind out of the box office. Yesterday, the Marvel movie generated 85% of Friday’s business. Most films geared at adults are taking a tumble that’s close to -60% or more from last weekend.  Sure, it’s not as though GOTG2 is competing against some fresh, four-quad piece of competition. F8 hardly has any air left in its tires, and most of the other movies in the top 10 are geared toward a specific demo (How to Be a Latin Lover), or older audience (Going in Style, Gifted).  Baahubali 2despite its great fanfare last weekend, is estimated to fall 70%, no thanks to losing its Imax auditoriums to GOTG2. Even more so, Bollywood movies burn quickly at the B.O.

GOTG2 received a solid A CinemaScore, the same as GOTG, and the 10th ‘A’ in the Kevin Feige-led Marvel cinematic universe. As we saw on PostTrak, older men are largely turning out for GOTG2: CinemaScore shows 58% guys and 60% over 25. The over 50 crowd who turned out at 15% didn’t shrug GOTG2 giving it an A-. Reasons why moviegoers bought tickets: 57% are Guardians fans, 27% came out for the male leads, and 19% for Zoe Saldana. Before GOTG surprised everyone with a then-record August opening of $94.3M, some of us in the media had our doubts about the property: Not only was it a lesser-known comic in the Marvel sphere, but its main protagonists included a green female alien, a tree and a raccoon. But Marvel always knew it had the goods: They announced the sequel at Comic-Con three years ago before the first movie even opened. That confidence continued to swell with Gunn also announcing before GOTG2 opened that he’s overseeing GOTG3 as writer and director.

In terms of social media chatter, RelishMix reports, “Convo for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic…And, more recent comments definitely contains spoilers from those who have sneaked into screenings. Fans are calling out Baby Groot, Drax and other characters by name — and the funny moments captured in the numerous clips shared across all social platforms. Also, fans are loving the soundtrack, and the film is gaining even more YouTube views from homemade soundtracks for Vol. 2.  Those who have seen Vol. 2 say it’s funnier and more action-packed than the first one. Fans are tagging each other and asking who’s got the tickets already.”

As we saw last night, GOTG2 had a higher definite recommend among audiences than its first movie, 77% to 75%, while 46% of those polled by Screen Engine/ComScore’s PostTrak said it blew away their expectations (vs. GOTG‘s 32%).

RelishMix weighs GOTG2‘s social media universe at 669M+, which bests the 465M average for a superhero movie.

Guardians 2 is an excellent example of leveraging all social media opportunities,” it said. “The cast, from star Chris Pratt down to supporting characters like Karen Gillen, are all on board. They are showing BTS materials from set and makeup — and the Marvel assets have done a great job of sharing their red carpet experiences and interviews. Pratt, Dave Bautista and the stars of the film have been having a lot of fun engaging fans over the past month — with the red carpet premiere in Hollywood strategically executed two weekends ago for maximum sharing. In addition, brand partners from Ford to Geico, from Hanes to the most recent reveal of Doritos are having fun too, as they implement Baby Groot and other beloved characters into their campaigns.”

Pic’s social stars are Vin Diesel (139M SMU), who is sharing plenty of Baby Groot pics, videos and materials from the film’s premiere even though he’s still tubthumping Fate Of The Furious. Pratt counts 18.9M SMU and he’s all Guardians, all the time. From funny clips like his painting with co-star Dave Bautista (9.2M SMU) to talking to every single reporter at the premiere, to posting homemade clips introducing new 30-second looks on Facebook, “Pratt has truly earned the title, ‘face of the film’,” says RelishMix. Even Sylvester Stallone is posting GOTG2 social media materials.

Check out the hysterical Bautista-Pratt painting clip below:

Weekend industry estimates for the weekend of May 5-7 as of Saturday AM:

1.). The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (DIS), 4,347 theaters / $56M Fri. (includes $17m previews)/ 3-day cume: $138.1M / Wk 1

2.) The Fate Of The Furious (UNI), 3,595 theaters (-482) / $2.3M Fri. (-55%) / 3-day cume: $8.6M (-57%) / Total cume: $207.1m / Wk 4

3.) The Boss Baby (Fox) 3,284 (-455), $1.3M (-35%)/3-day: $6M (-35%)/Total: $156.6M/Wk 6

4). How To Be A Latin Lover (PANT/LG), 1,203 theaters (+85) / $1.3M Fri. (-66%)/ 3-day cume: $5M (-59%)/ Total: $20.4M/Wk 2

5). Beauty and the Beast (DIS), 2,680 theaters (-475) / $1.2M Fri. (-25%) / 3-day cume: $4.8M (-29%) / Total cume: $487.4M / Wk 8

6.) The Circle (STX/EUR), 3,163 theaters / $1.16M Fri. (-68%)/ 3-day cume: $3.7M (-59%)/Total:$15.4M/ Wk 1

7). Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (GINF) 425 theaters / $889K Fri.  (-82%)/ 3-day cume: $3.1M (-70%) /Total:$16M/ Wk 2

8.) Gifted (FSL), 1,874 theaters (-341) / $571K Fri. (-36%) / 3-day cume: $2.1M (-36%) / Total: $19.3M Wk 5

9.) Going in Style (WB/VR), 2,033 theaters (-728) / $530K Fri. (-45% ) / 3-day cume: $2M  (-44%) Total: $40.7M / Wk 5

10.) Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sony), 1,902 theaters (-652) / $361K Fri. (-47%) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (-51%) / Total: $40.4M / Wk 5

NOTABLES:

The Dinner (ORC), 509 theaters / $211K Fri. / 3-day cume: $638k / Wk 1

Sleight (BHT), 591 theaters (+26) / $191K Fri. (-68%) / 3-day cume: $620k (-64%) /Total: $2.85M/Wk 1

3 Generations (TWC), 6 theaters / $5K Fri. /PTA: $3,6K/ 3-day cume: $16,6k / Wk 1

4th UPDATE, Friday 12:14 PM: It’s still early, but as of right now we’re hearing that Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is zooming between $53M-$60M today, which includes its $17M previews last night, pointing it toward a $140M+ opening. Last night’s ticket sales rep 30% of today’s business. Again, given the hot word of mouth here, these figures could jump higher tonight, and even higher tomorrow.

These are vibrant Marvel numbers, and don’t even think about comparing them to the Avengers films Last year, some rival studio executives snarked that Captain America: Civil War in its opening was really Avengers 3, since its $179.1M opening came in under both Avengers ($207.4M) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.3M) and starred the same crew. But GOTG2 is its own beast, its own universe, and thus the story this weekend is about how it’s beating its 2014 predecessor’s opening ($94.3M). Again, when it comes to sequels nowadays, not many studios can crow that their openings surge from film to film.

By the way, there are other movies at the multiplex this weekend: Today, Universal’s The Fate of the Furious becomes the fourth film in the series to pass $200M after Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7. The pic is projected to make $2.65M tonight for a fourth weekend of $10M, -50% for a cume by Sunday of $208.6M. Pantelion/Lionsgate’s How to Be a Latin Lover is +85 locations for 1,203 and is estimated at $1.2M today, $4M for the weekend (-67%) and a 10-day tally of $19.4M. Great India Films’ Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and STX/EuropaCorp’s The Circle are currently in a tie in their second weekend with an estimated $3.5M apiece. Baahubali 2 will see $16.4M by Sunday and Circle $15.2M.

We’ll have more updates as the day goes on.

3rd UPDATE, Friday AM after Thursday PM posts: Disney is calling Thursday night for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. at $17M — exactly where we saw it last night. To date, that’s the highest preview night of the year.

Among all preview nights for Disney/Marvel movies, GOTG2 ranks fourth behind Avengers: Age of Ultron ($27.6M), Captain America: Civil War ($25M) and The Avengers ($18.7M). The last two Marvel May releases – 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and last year’s Captain America: Civil War — grossed 33% of their Friday business on Thursday night bringing in, respectively, $84.4M and $75.5M on their first day of release. Should that percent hold into today, that means GOTG2 could mint between $55M$60M, and a weekend opening between $125M-$130M. Even though that’s below the $150M-$160M forecasts we heard about over the last month, it’s a marvelous result for GOTG2. 

Why?

How many sequels in this day and age outstrip their first installment? GOTG2 will beat the $94.3M opening of its 2014 volume by at least 33%. Not to mention for a movie that cost $200M before P&A, GOTG2 is off to a great start with $167M in the bank from its first week of play overseas. The first GOTG had a similar negative cost, an estimated global $147.4M P&A spend and churned a profit after all ancillaries of $204M.

There’s plenty of excellent buzz here: GOTG2 owns an 84% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, a 93% positive score on ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak audience poll (vs. GOTG‘s 90%), a 77% recommend (vs. GOTG‘s 75%), not to mention 46% say the sequel exceeded their expectations (vs. GOTG‘s 32%). Also we can’t ignore the fever pitch in advance ticket sales. While Fandango showed GOTG2 zipping past Ultron throughout the week in pre-sales, 80%-plus of all tickets being sold on Movietickets.com belong to Star-Lord and friends.

Today GOTG2 blasts off at 4,347 theaters. Of those, 3,800-plus are 3D, 388 are in Imax (32% of all biz Thursday night), 588 premium large-format locations (19% of all biz per PostTrak) and 194 D-Box locations. Overall, 47% watched GOTG2 in 2D. Across America in 550 theaters yesterday there were RealD Guardians of the Galaxy double feature events. Participating chains included AMC, Cinemark, Cineplex, National Amusements Regal Cinemas and B&B Theatres. 3D repped 53% of GOTG2‘s business last night.

How did demographics change between films?

GOTG fans essentially got older. While the first one drew 33% men under 25, GOTG2 pulled in predominantly 34% men over 25 and 25% females over 25. Thirty percent of the crowd last night attended with two-to-four friends.

Other interesting takeaways from Thursday: 53% of the crowd bought tickets because they’re fans of the GOTG franchise, 50% came because they like Marvel movies, while 38% attended for the cast as a whole.

For those in the industry who think streaming is king and that PVOD will save the film business, PostTrak’s reports always prove them wrong: 29% of Thursday’s audience at GOTG2 would like to see the sequel again, 28% want to buy it on Blu-Ray, and 20% want to own it on DVD — huge results which blow any want of streaming.

Meanwhile the rest of the Thursday B.O. looked number-wise like a Specialty box office chart: Outside of GOTG2, the highest grossing title was Universal’s The Fate of the Furious making only $960K at 4,077 venues with a running three week tally of $198.6M. It should easily and finally pass $200M today. Pantelion/Lionsgate’s How to be a Latin Lover ranked second with $540K at 1,118 and a week’s cume of $15.4M. STX/EuropaCorp’s The Circle ranked third with $475K at 3,163 and a week’s B.O. of $11.7M.

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