May 6, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Guardians 2″” Kicks Off Summer Movie Season


With a franchise like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (Marvel/Disney), profitability isn’t at issue.  Guardians 2 carries around $350M in worldwide production/marketing costs, and it will be in hailing distance of financial success by Sunday.  The question is how the given installment ranks in terms of similar mega-competition and expectations.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline put opening day for Vol 2 at $56M (including $17M from Thursday night), for a likely $140M weekend.  That’s a solid if unexciting result for the traditional summer movie kick-off weekend at the start of May, below all but one of the movies that occupied that slot over the past 5 years (the 2 Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and Iron Man 3, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 so much of an outlier as to require an immediate reboot), and also below 2007’s Spider-Man 3.  The opening is far higher than the original Guardians and its $37.8M/$94.3M, but Vol 2 will likely have a very different trajectory, since the first in the series benefited from a sense of audience surprise and also basically had all of August to itself, while Vol 2 will face big-budget competition every weekend of its run.  Vol 2 seems likely to end up in the neighborhood of $330M in the US, just about the same as the original Guardians‘s $333.2M despite the higher opening.  That’s in keeping with the Iron Man component of the Marvel universe, which dropped 2% with the 2d chapter, while Captain America (+47%) and Thor (+14%) grew.  In short, Marvel continues to be a model of how a well-calibrated franchise can turn giant budgets into safely profitable enterprises.

No one dared to challenge Guardians 2 at the multiplex, with the holdovers led by THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (Universal), which was scheduled to finish the bulk of its run before Vol 2 arrived.  Its 56% drop from last Friday to $2.2M was no surprise, and after a $7.5-8M weekend, it will wind up at around $225M in the US, below the last 2 installments, but making up for that overseas.

The holdovers least affected by the arrival of Guardians 2 were the family movies, and THE BOSS BABY (DreamWorks Animation) had a soft 32% decline from last Friday to $1.4M, for a $6M weekend as it heads to $170M in the US.  BEAUTY & THE BEAST (Disney) was similarly down 32% to $1.1M for a $4M weekend as it continues to see how close it can land to $500M in the US.  GIFTED (Fox Searchlight) held well too, down 35% from last Friday to $600K, on its way to $20-25M in the US.

Last weekend’s openings didn’t fare as well.  HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER (Pantelion/Lionsgate) slumped by 67% from last Friday to $1.3M, on track for a $5M weekend and a $30M US total that won’t match star Eugenio Derbez’s $44.5M for Instructions Not IncludedTHE CIRCLE (Europa/STX) fell 68% Friday-to-Friday to $1.2M, for a $4M weekend and a US total that won’t be much higher than $20M.  BAAHUBALI 2 (Great India) was hugely frontloaded, and it plunged 81% from last Friday to $900K for a $3M weekend, although $20M+ as a US total will still be impressive for the niche title.  SLEIGHT (Blumhouse/BH Tilt), in a smaller 591-theatre run, fell 67% from last Friday to $200K and may have a weekend per-theatre average around $1K.

3 GENERATIONS (Weinstein) didn’t make a ripple in a 6-theatre limited release, on its way to a low $3500 per-theatre average for the weekend.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."