Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 grossed $40 million on Friday and is well on its way to dominating the box office in its opening weekend. The highly anticipated sequel got a bit of a head start in international markets with over $100 million in its overseas opening last weekend and finally got its wide US release this week.
Expected to draw anywhere from $140-160 million domestically in its opening weekend, Guardians 2 is certainly off to a fast start and a sure bet to unseat The Fate of the Furious atop the box office. It reportedly earned $17 million at U.S. theaters from preview screenings late Thursday night and now the Friday box office numbers are in.
As reported by Variety on Saturday, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earned about $40 million on Friday to run its North American box office total to $56.3 million in just two nights. It’s poised to dominate the North American box office with about $140 million for the weekend at 4,347 locations, according to estimates. The number is slightly lower than other recent forecasts, although Disney themselves reportedly projected the sequel to gross between $140-150 million.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s two-day domestic total accounts for about 85 percent of the total North American box office from Thursday-Friday, with no other movie really getting a look-in. The $140 million weekend total would be the second-largest domestic opening of the year behind Beauty and the Beast’s $174.8 million in March. In terms of the franchise, that’s the fifth-largest opening for a Disney-Marvel movie after The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and Iron Man 3.
The first Guardians of the Galaxy opened with about $94 million in 2014, which would mark about a 50 percent increase for Vol. 2’s opening weekend. Long-term, this gives it a great chance of eventually topping the $333 million domestic total for the original. Internationally, the sequel’s worldwide gross will quickly pass its $200 million budget, with final predictions going rather high. That said, Guardians 2 still has a long way to go to match the original’s worldwide total of over $773 million; it’s unclear how much its initial burst of box office success will be sustained.
Of course, Vol. 2 earned mostly positive reviews – the film currently sits on an 81% Certified Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score – reaffirming Guardians‘ place as one of Marvel Studios’ most acclaimed properties. Positive word of mouth is essential for a movie’s longevity and Guardians 2 definitely has that, so who knows how it will go.