It looks like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has pulled in a strong $48.2M on Friday including its Thursday previews. That would currently put it on a path to making around $110M over the weekend, which is currently on the low end of expectations but it’s unclear how word-of-mouth might affect its Saturday and Sunday gross. This has been adding to some concern of superhero fatigue but it does have a strong A CinemaScore and strong PostTrak showcasing a potential long-run at the box office that may push against the recent developments.
Deadline has pointed out that while CinemaCon snarked about superhero fatigue (ironically given The Flash was the “highlight” showcased by Warner Bros.), the film is Marvel’s eleventh time topping $100M in May, which is still something no other brand can really compare to at the moment. The film also remains quite male-dominated at 62%, whose positive reaction could keep it going for weeks until Fast X releases in June. The question remains if positive word-of-mouth and a strong hold for a few weeks could actually help push The Marvels later in the year rather than continue a downward trend (or perhaps it’s less a genre fatigue but more a reflection of its marketing as well).
As of now, it’s new for a Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel to be behind previous entries but also not entirely something new. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avengers: Age of Ultron was behind the previous entry and could also hint at Vol. 2 getting quite a big boost from releasing in 2017 during the Phase 3 boom after momentum built out of Captain America: Civil War. As of now, the film will likely open slightly ahead of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which had a powerful opening but lost momentum quickly highlighting the film’s okay word-of-mouth and the Disney+ release strategy from previous years showing its fangs.
Still, the film is continuing the trend of Marvel opening beyond $100M which isn’t a terrible thing to showcase. There was tracking towards $130M and if momentum suddenly spikes going into its Saturday, there’s a chance but things are a bit calmer for now. What should be noted is that the film has a much stronger international box office at around $71.5M, which would put it at $119.7M worldwide as of Friday.
There’s a lot that can be said about recent developments, as 2022 still looked strong for Marvel Studios but this year had some surprise hits. The four-quadrant market has been quite focused on Super Mario Bros. Movie by pushing that beyond a billion making up for the missing families in theaters the last few years. That film is finally dethroned but still drops to a strong $18.5M while new release Love Again is dead on arrival with a $2.6M opening weekend.
There is a good chance that the current development simply reflects a stuffed Summer market and it’s uncertain if other projects won’t face similar developments. With that many films on the horizon and a recession still at play, people might just be a bit pickier this year as seen in the first few months as well. Only a select few managed to hold with a strong male-driven audience but outside of Mario, nothing is really breaking records. What is playing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s favor is that the international market is seemingly doing quite a bit better now.
It’s currently still projected for a $260M+ global opening, which is higher than the initially expected worldwide gross for the film. Social is pushing the film quite a bit, especially in Korea which has been a rather rough market as of late. Ironically, if Guardians mends any expectations with Marvel releases, they could be balancing out the domestic slowdown that has occurred this year. While some want to blame Ant-Man 3 for this current development, the Guardians are still some of the more obscure characters in the franchise that haven’t had a new entry since 2017.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Twitter, Deadline, Deadline