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Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ kicks off summer movie season with $114 million debut

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” the conclusion to Marvel’s trilogy about an intergalactic team of misfits, opened with $114 million on its domestic box office debut.

Those ticket sales rank as the second-biggest opening weekend of the year, behind “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” at $146 million. Despite the towering figure, the film slightly missed expectations of $120 million and came in considerably behind its predecessor, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” with $146 million. It’s a jump on the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which introduced the Star Lord world to Chris Pratt and friends and opened to $94 million in 2014.

At the international box office, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” added $168 million across 52 markets, bringing its worldwide total to $282 million. In China, which was once huge territory for Marvel but is increasingly hostile to most Hollywood movies, the comic trio raised a better-than-expected $28 million to start.

For “Vol. 3,” the next few weeks will be crucial as the summer movie season kicks into high gear with “Fast X” on May 19 and “The Little Mermaid” on May 26. Disney’s superhero sequel needs to maintain momentum against those tentpoles to avoid the same. ignominious fate as MCU companion “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which ignited earlier this year to hit $106 million and then immediately flopped at the box office. It failed to reach $500 million worldwide, ending this trilogy on a low note and reinforcing the narrative that Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe is struggling to maintain its shine as an A franchise. -list.

“Keep this in mind,” says David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. “For superheroes, the average is in the stratosphere.”

Gunn returned to write and direct “Vol. 3,” which is his last Marvel movie before taking over the reins at rival comics studio DC. In the past, the “Guardians” movies have been up-and-coming performers at the box office. The first film ended its theatrical run with $333 million domestically and $773 million worldwide, while the follow-up reached $389 million domestically and $863 million worldwide. As summer approached, there were predictions that “Vol. 3″ would break records by the time it hits theaters but that’s no longer a guarantee. However, the studio hopes the film’s “A” CinemaScore and 81% on Rotten Tomatoes will lead to positive word-of-mouth.

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ ended the animated film’s four-week box office reign as ‘The Super Mario Bros.’. year with $518 million domestically and $1.15 billion worldwide.

Another newcomer, Sony’s romantic comedy “Love Again,” had a major flop with $2.4 million from 2,703 theaters. The film, starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and featuring Celine Dion’s discography, earned a “B” CinemaScore and holds 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, which doesn’t bode well for a long life in theaters. Luckily, it only cost $9 million.

“Love Again” landed in fifth place behind the remnants, the horror sequel “Evil Dead Rise” and the literary adaptation “Are You There God? It’s me, Marguerite.

“Evil Dead Rise,” a supernatural horror sequel from Warner Bros. and New Line, took third place with $5.7 million from 3,036 theaters in its third weekend of release. It was a strong performer at the box office with $54 million in North America and $110 million worldwide. To make those returns even sweeter, the $15 million budget movie was originally slated to hit HBO Max before getting a mainstream theatrical release.

At No. 4, Lionsgate’s adaptation of Judy Blume’s seminal novel added $3.38 million in its second weekend of release. Unfortunately for the $30 million budget film, its stellar reviews didn’t translate to ticket sales. It has only generated $12.6 million to date.

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