I’m not sure how much bigger the smiles could get at Marvel after all the success the studio has had with its movies over the past few years, but here’s something that could increase their size: already forecast for a record opening weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy is poised to open even bigger than the most wildly optimistic initial forecasts.
As Box Office Mojo explains, the movie cranked out $37.8 million on Friday, and while that total also included Thursday night showings, it meant a larger first-day haul than both Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The obvious yet still remarkable difference is that those films were both sequels with built-in demand, while Guardians of the Galaxy represented a new franchise setting sail for Marvel for the first time since 2011.
The previous record holder for an August opening weekend was The Bourne Ultimatum at $69.3 million. It’s possible that Guardians will set a new mark by the end of today and everything it makes on Sunday will simply be piling on.
Box Office Mojo’s Ray Subers now expects the movie to finish in the $92 to $96 million range for the weekend. If it can come in at the top end of that range, it will squeak by The Winter Soldier for the fifth-largest Marvel opening, or eighth if you include the Spider-Man and X-Men films produced by Sony and Fox, respectively. More importantly, it will trail only Iron Man and the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man as far as non-sequels and team pictures on that list, and if we dream really big and it somehow eclipses $100 million in three days, it will leave even Tony Stark in the dust.
It’s no wonder that Marvel announced a 2017 release date for a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Kevin Feige and company are probably already dreaming of those box office receipts …