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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” the conclusion of Marvel’s trilogy, opened with $114 million in its domestic box office debut.
Those ticket sales ranked as the second-biggest opening weekend of the year behind “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” with $146 million. Despite the lofty numbers, the film narrowly missed expectations by $120 million and fell behind its predecessor, 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” with $146 million. It’s an improvement on the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which opened to $94 million in 2014 and introduced the world to Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord and his friends.
At the international box office, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” added $168 million from 52 markets, bringing its global tally to $282 million. In China, once a big territory for Marvel but increasingly hostile to most Hollywood movies, the comic book trilogy grossed a better-than-expected $28 million to begin with.
Premium large formats, including IMAX and Dolby, contributed 40% of the film’s opening weekend ticket sales. Imax alone has delivered $10.7 million in North America and $25 million worldwide. “We expect strong audience reception to deliver a long, successful run at the box office,” says company CEO Rich Gelfonte.
“Vol. 3 kicking the summer movie season into high gear with “Fast X” on May 19 and “The Little Mermaid” on May 26, the next few weeks will be crucial. Disney’s superhero sequel should keep pace against those tentpoles. Fellow MCU installment “Ant. -Man and the Wasp: Quantum of Solace” hit $106 million earlier this year before collapsing immediately at the box office. It failed to reach $500 million worldwide, ending the trilogy on a low note and signaling that Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe is struggling to maintain its luster as an A-list franchise. Reinforced the story.
David A., who runs film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Remember,” says Gross. “For superheroes, average is stratospheric.”
Gunn returned to write and direct “Vol. 3,” his final Marvel film before taking the reigns at rival comic book studio DC. In the past, “Guardians” movies have been promising box office performers. The first film ended its theatrical run with $333 million domestically and $773 million worldwide, while its follow-up hit $389 million domestically and $863 million worldwide. During the summer, “Vol. 3” will break records by the time it leaves theaters, but that’s no longer guaranteed. However, the studio hopes positive word-of-mouth, including the film’s “A” CinemaScore and 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, will extend its life in theaters.
Elsewhere at the domestic box office, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” ended the four-week box office reign of Universal and Illumination’s animated “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which dropped to second place with $18.6 million from 3,909 theaters. It was the highest-grossing film of the year with $518 million domestically and $1.15 billion worldwide.
Another newcomer, Sony’s romantic comedy “Love Again,” flopped with $2.4 million from 2,703 locations. Starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and set to a musical score by Celine Dion, the film received a “B” CinemaScore and 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, which does not indicate longevity in theaters. Fortunately, it only cost $9 million.
“Again Love” landed in fifth place behind holdovers, horror sequel “Evil Dead Rise” and literary adaptation “Are You God? It’s Me, Margaret.
Warner Bros. and New Line’s supernatural horror sequel “Evil Dead Rises” finished third in its third weekend with $5.7 million from 3,036 theaters. It has been a solid box office performer, grossing $54 million in North America and $110 million worldwide. Making those returns even sweeter, the $15 million budgeted film was slated to air on HBO Max before getting a traditional theatrical release.
No. 4, Lionsgate’s adaptation of Judy Bloom’s seminal novel added $3.38 million in its second weekend of release. Unfortunately for the $30 million budget film, its rave reviews didn’t translate into ticket sales. It has only grossed $12.6 million to date.