SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 delivered an estimated $56.2 million on Friday and has Disney anticipating an opening around $140 million as it's well below the $68.8 million Friday for Iron Man 3, which opened with $174.1 million and ahead of the $51.2 million brought in by Iron Man 2, which debuted with $128.1 million. The film scored an "A" CinemaScore, which is right in line with pretty much every other film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all of which have scored in the "A" range outside of Thor, which scored a "B+".
You can check out all of Friday's estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brought in an impressive $17 million last night from Thursday previews, which includes a double feature event in 558 theaters around the country with the original Guardians film. Recent comparisons within this range include Beauty and the Beast earlier this year, which brought in $16.3 million from previews before opening with $174 million and Furious 7, which brought in $15.8 million in April 2015 before opening with $147.1 million. In terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man 3 brought in $15.6 million from previews before opening with $174 million and The Avengers scored $18.7 million before opening with $207.4 million.
All that said, Disney is anticipating an opening around $150+ million for the weekend, though a few of those examples above prove it would't be surprising to see it go higher.
Additionally, the film continues its international rollout and currently stands at $167 million internationally as of end of day yesterday. The film opened in China on Friday where early estimates have it grossing over $15 million for the first day. Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow with Friday estimates.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: The summer movie season is upon us as Disney and Marvel release Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 into theaters as the lone new wide release of the weekend. This latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will debut in over 4,300 theaters domestically after opening in ~58% of the international marketplace last weekend and pulling in over $106 million. This weekend it adds several new international markets, including China, as it hopes to become the second Disney release of 2017 to top $1 billion globally.
Opening in 4,347 theaters, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the tenth widest opening of all-time and industry estimates have it pegged for a $140+ million opening. Of those theaters, this includes 3,800+ 3D locations, 388 IMAX screens, 588 Premium Large Format locations and 194 D-Box locations. Adding to the roll-out, not only will Guardians 2 hold Thursday night previews beginning at 7PM, but 558 theaters around the country will be playing a Guardians double feature event, all of which will ultimately be rolled into the film's Friday box office haul.
As for our expectations, from where we stand an opening over $150 million seems almost a guarantee. However, to look at historical averages for sequels in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (outside of the Avengers films and not including Civil War) it shows sequels improving by 35.6%, on average, over their predecessors, which would put the Guardians 2 opening around $127.9 million given the $94.3 million opening for the original back in 2014.
Of course, a more telling number to look at is the 3.53 multiplier the original Guardians had based on its opening weekend. It was a film that not only opened well beyond expectations, it kept on delivering over the course of its theatrical run to the point it has the largest multiplier out of any other film in the MCU, a fact that suggests audience anticipating for more Guardians is virtually a guarantee. All that being said, we're anticipating an opening around $158 million, which, while nearly $20 million above industry expectations, still feels a little conservative even though that's enough to make it one of the top five May openings of all-time.
Internationally, Guardians 2 is currently at $154 million as of end of day Wednesday (5/3) and with the film openign in South Korea yesterday, followed by debuts in Russia and Argentina today and an opening in China tomorrow. The previous Guardians film debuted with $30 million in China and went on to gross $96.4 million, the film's highest grossing market outside of North America.
Elsewhere, after finishing atop the weekend box office for three weeks in a row, Universal's Fate of the Furious will fall to second this weekend where it should pull in around $9.5 million as its domestic cume will push over $200 million.
Third place should go to Lionsgate and Pantelion's smash hit How to be a Latin Lover, which stormed the box office last weekend, bringing in over $12 million from just 1,118 theaters. This weekend the film adds 85 theaters and considering there really is no precedent for a film like this in the domestic marketplace it's tough to say just how well it will do. Looking at the past performance of similar openers we're anticipating a drop around 34% and a second weekend around $7.7 million.
Fourth place is likely to go to Fox's The Boss Baby, which just topped $150 million domestically on Wednesday and will look to add another $5.7 million or so this weekend.
Rounding out the top five is Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which continues inching toward $500 million domestically. This weekend we're anticipating another $4.7 million or so will be added to the coffers bringing its total over $487 million.
Outside the top five, we're expecting a rather steep drop for STX's The Circle as that "D+" CinemaScore and some pretty dismal reviews don't provide much encouragement in terms of long legs. That said, we may be a little too generous with our forecast for a 54% drop and a sophomore session around $4.16 million considering films that opened within the same range as The Circle dropped, on average, 58% when they received a "D+" CinemaScore.
There's also question as to how will Baahubali 2: The Conclusion do this weekend after its monster, $10.35 million opening last weekend from just 425 theaters. We have not received a theater count for the film and are working under the assumption it will continue to play in the same 425 theaters or thereabouts. We're also thinking it's likely to perform similarly to its predecessor and dip around 60% or so this weekend for a $4.14 million second frame.
Outside the top ten and in limited release this weekend, The Weinstein Company will release 3 Generations, a transgender drama for which the Weinstein Co. had to go to battle with the MPAA, appealing the original R-rating and ultimately receiving a PG-13 just a week before the film hits theaters. This week it debuts in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will expand further next weekend.
Other limited openers include the Julian Assange documentary Risk from Citizenfour director Laura Poitras, which will open in 36 theaters courtesy of Neon. A24 will release The Lovers into four theaters; Crimson Forest will release Shock Wave, which topped the box office in China last weekend, into 19 locations; and IFC will release Chuck into four theaters.
This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (4,347 theaters) - $158.3 M
- The Fate of the Furious (3,592 theaters) - $9.5 M
- How to be a Latin Lover (1,203 theaters) - $7.7 M
- The Boss Baby (3,284 theaters) - $5.7 M
- Beauty and the Beast (2,680 theaters) - $4.7 M
- The Circle (3,163 theaters) - $4.2 M
- Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (425 theaters*) - $4.1 M * Estimated theater count
- Smurfs: The Lost Village (1,902 theaters) - $2.2 M
- Gifted (1,874 theaters) - $1.9 M
- Going in Style (2,033 theaters) - $1.9 M