Guardians 2 Opens Summer With a Bang
By John Hamann
May 7, 2017
One could argue that Guardians 2 is a "Saturday afternoon" movie. For me, that's a monster movie or a space opera type flick, usually one where you check your brain out for a Saturday afternoon and go to the movies. The original Guardians was one of those for me, and if you believed critics, we were getting the same product in different packaging this time around (I am NOT going to complain about that). There is not really a way to tell how matinees affect box office, but if the Saturday number is decent, then we can surmise something about the daytime screenings. The Saturday for Guardians 2 came in at $51.1 million, ahead of The Fate of the Furious ($31.5 million), behind Iron Man 3 ($62.3 million on Saturday), and close to Iron Man 2, which earned $45.8 million on its second day. It's also identical to the Saturday for the original Guardians, which was off a tiny 9% from the combined Thursday/Friday and easily beat the Friday score without the previews. This was the result Disney needed after a slightly softer than expected opening day. I think I can now argue that the Guardians franchise has two Saturday afternoon films as part of its canon.
The Sunday makes the opening, as Guardians 2 was off an impressive 26% from that massive Saturday. The Sunday is estimated at $37.7 million, which means that every day was significantly higher the original film. It also means the weekend comes in at a massive $145 million, a number everyone at Disney and Marvel will be thrilled with. No, it didn't make it to $150 million, but that was my number to shoot for. Tracking had it over $150 million, but Disney stuck to $140-$150 million, and they hit the high end. The opening makes it the 17th biggest of all time, just behind Furious 7's $147.2 million, and just ahead of Twilight: New Moon's $142.8 million (which is good, as Disney can overestimate without losing the ranking). It is the sixth biggest Marvel debut ever, finishing between Spider-Man 3 and Deadpool. Things are good again at Disney, as this will launch Guardians easily over the $300 million on the domestic side, and it should easily beat the original's $333 million haul.
How did they do it? It is often the same answer in the Marvel Universe. The filmmakers made a great movie, and then the Marvel people handed it off to the Disney Marketing Machine. Voila! You have the 17th biggest opener of all time. Yes, that formula worked again, and is a formula that the DC/WB combo have yet to figure out. Guardians Vol 2 is 82% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, with the more uptight "top critics" coming in at 70%. While I used to argue about the Cinemascore data, I think on a movie like this, it is the strongest public data point we have. The Cinemascore for Guardians Vol.2 is the same as Guardians Vol 1, coming in at an A.
Now, before everyone gets excited and says that Vol 2 is going to make $500 million plus domestic because of the legs of the first film (it had a 3.5 opening-to-total multiplier), please remember the release date difference. People get so excited about the legs of Guardians and Suicide Squad, but both opened on that date in August where your film is the last of the blockbusters and can play through August without being roughed up too much. The Guardians sequel will have to play the blockbuster dance throughout May and June, facing off with the likes of King Arthur, Alien Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean and Baywatch (and yes, only the Alien film is circled on my schedule), but compared to the original, whose only competition was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Let's Be Cops, this timing is a little different.