Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hasn’t even opened stateside yet, and it’s already tracking to be Marvel’s second biggest opener of all time. While Marvel’s first film of 2017 won’t open until the end of the week in North America, the movie has already premiered in a number of international markets to huge numbers. With the weekend totals counted, the movie has already brought in $106 million. Meanwhile, early estimates show Guardians 2 is tracking for well over $150 million domestically when it opens Friday.
Thanks to the success of the first Guardians, which holds the top spot for an August opening, anticipation is high for the sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is certified “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus that the new film matches the heart, humor, and action of its predecessor. Some new data, however, indicates that those early estimates for the movie’s U.S. opening turnout may fall short.
Thank to buzz and a strong international opening, Deadline is reporting that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might top the overall haul of Avengers: Age of Utron. They note that early ticket sales for the movie have already outstripped the 2015 team-up, and the film has remained the number one seller on Fandango for the past week. Age of Ultron managed a debut of $191.3 million, making it the fourth biggest opener of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and The Avengers. Whether Guardians 2 can top the $207.4 million take that Marvel’s first Avengers earned is unknown, but it may provide the studio with its second biggest opening ever, if the early indicators are to be believed.
Aside from the Marvel Studios name, a number of factors have gone into the early success of the sequel. Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis had this to say, regarding what looks to be another massive hit for Marvel:
“Its popularity has grown exponentially since the first Guardians of the Galaxy surprised audiences as a monster hit. The series’ visual inventiveness, coupled with the addition of Baby Groot and another fantastic soundtrack in Vol. 2, is fueling even more excitement as Marvel Studios looks to kick off the summer movie season in a massive way.”
Audience awareness is at an all time high for the film, based on several surveys. Fandango asked a variety of questions to audiences about the new film, revealing some insight into why anticipation is so high for the sequel. 79% of those surveyed saw the original in theaters and will be coming back for round 2. Meanwhile, 62% are eager to see Kurt Russel as Star-Lord’s father and 74% are excited about the increased focus on female characters like Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis. And most telling of all, 97% of people polled said they’d be sticking around after the end of the film to check out the five post-credits scenes. All told, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may just blow expectations out of the water when it debuts domestically this week.