Box Office: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Rockets to $48 Million Opening Day

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” formally kicked off the summer blockbuster season Friday. While Disney’s domestic numbers have yet to come in, analysts indicate the film drew about $48 million on its opening day, a figure that includes $17.5 million in Thursday previews.

“Vol. 3” is on track to land within its expectations heading into the weekend, which had pegged the Disney release to take root with a $110 million to $120 million debut through Sunday. That would be enough to notch the second-highest opening of the year, behind only the $146 million that “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” coined over a three-day frame. However, it’s still roughly a quarter down from the $146.5 million debut earned by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” back in 2017.

The extraterrestrial adventure has garnered favorable nods, with a 67% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge was especially favorable, naming the film a critic’s pick.

“Gunn toys with the mortality of his ensemble as well, but he does so responsibly, honoring the bonds we’ve made to these characters over the years, and recognizing that the Guardians can and will evolve,” Debruge wrote.

But even more encouraging for Marvel Studios is the sterling response among the first round of ticket buyers for “Guardians,” as indicated by the film’s “A” grade through research firm Cinema Score. That strong result matches “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and is a leg up on the B-level grades earned by other recent fare from the studio, like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Some disappointed murmurs have steadily grown among Marvel audiences in the years since 2019’s rapturously received and superlatively commercial team-up climax “Avengers: Endgame,” but “Guardians Vol. 3” seems to have the favor of fans.

Directed by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” bids farewell to Chris Pratt’s Star Lord and his crew of interstellar heroes, played by Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, as well as the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. The new film gives insight into Rocket Raccoon’s tragic past, as the team faces off against the evil High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji).

More to come…

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