Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has already surpassed the 2014 opening weekend for its predecessor, with its own domestic opening weekend earnings of $145 million across 4,300 U.S. locations. Despite a $200 million budget and the very real threat of “franchise fatigue,” the film is on pace to continue putting up staggering sales figures. Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis said the film can now boast of the 17th biggest domestic opening of all time, and he touted the box office clout of both Disney and Marvel.
“It’s a reflection of how consistent Marvel has been—their $11 billion worth of success—and how they can take chances like this,” Hollis told Deadline. “It’s not a franchise that is quote unquote safe or normal as other movie franchises. The challenge here was taking things that moviegoers loved from the first and making it bigger.”
Having a lengthy list of bankable Hollywood stars likely didn’t hurt. Guardians of the Galaxy actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Karen Gillan all returned, and Kurt Russell and Pom Klementieff were added to the cast.
Industry pundits predicted opening weekend figures of $140 million, which the film eclipsed. The numbers will likely only get larger as international box office figures are tallied in the coming days.
“This weekend the movie earned an estimated $124 million abroad after opening in several more major foreign markets including Korea, Russia and China,” wrote Variety News Editor Seth Kelley. “That raises the global weekend total to about $269 million and the movie’s total global take so far to $428 million.”
Those kind of numbers make a third Guardians installment pretty much inevitable, and Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn has already hinted on Facebook that he's working on the series' next film.