(Variety.com) – And just like that, Star-Lord and his band of super buddies are back on top of the box office.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” blasted into domestic theaters this weekend to kick off the summer box office to the tune of $145 million at 4,347 locations. The latest from Disney and Marvel was expected to make $140 million, but possibly more by some analysts considering the studio’s track record and enthusiasm that the first go-around generated.
“We feel great. It is a spectacular number, period,” said Disney’s distribution chief Dave Hollis. “This is such a fresh and exciting film … it’s the kind of event that gets people excited about going to theaters.”
Returning to deliver more bright colors, wise-cracks and another groovy soundtrack, James Gunn directed and scripted the movie starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper as the titular guardians. The film also features expanded roles for Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker, as well as prominent new characters played by Kurt Russell and Pom Klementieff. The movie functions as an escape thriller, and an origin story for Pratt’s Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord). Gunn is already attached to write and direct the third “Guardians” movie.
“Guardians 2” came into its opening domestic weekend with well over $100 million in the bank from international ticket sales. It made more than $106 million in its first weekend at 58 percent of overseas territories. This weekend the movie earned an estimated $124 million abroad after opening in several more major foreign markets including Korea, Russia and China. That raises the global weekend total to about $269 million and the movie’s total global take so far to $428 million.
The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe entered theaters with high expectations. When the original was released in 2014, it was a relatively unknown property that managed to smash records for the month of August when it opened to more than $94 million domestically (still modest by Disney/Marvel standards). But word-of-mouth kept building, and by the end of its theatrical run, it had raked in $333 million domestically and $440 million overseas.
“Guardians 2” enjoyed the widest Imax opening ever ― 1,088 screen in 69 markets. The film made $25 million on Imax screens including $13 million in North America. $174 million of the movie’s global earnings this weekend came from 3D ticket sales, according to RealD, which was responsible for about $72 million of the take.