In its second week in theaters, the director’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” proved that audiences are still willing to venture out to see costumed heroes on the big screen. Most blockbuster films’ ticket sales drop between 50% and 70% from the opening weekend to the second week. Gunn’s third tale about the Guardians of the Galaxy only dropped 47.6%, indicating that even casual fans think it’s a must-see movie.
The film’s $660 million worldwide haul means that it is trailing the first Guardians of the Galaxy by around $100 million. Released in 2014, the first movie was a surprise hit for Marvel, mainly because the characters weren’t as well-known as Iron Man or Captain America. The film finished with $333 million domestically and $770 million worldwide, cementing the Marvel brand. Three years later, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 delivered a $389 million domestic haul and an $863 million global finish, further establishing the Guardians as among the most adored characters in the MCU — their popularity only increased after appearances in other Marvel projects such as Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder.
Gunn writes and directs Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter, and Maria Bakalova.
One of the most surprising things about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is how few of the main characters die during the course of the film. Yes, the entire population of Counter-Earth is obliterated by the High Evolutionary, but when it comes to the Guardians themselves, everyone makes it to the finish line intact. And now James Gunn has confirmed that even the High Evolutionary himself survived the final battle. It’s not every day that the MCU spares the life of a major villain rather than killing them off.
Gunn decided against it, however, as he didn’t want to confuse anyone who hadn’t seen the other movies or at least hadn’t seen them in a while, noting that he wants the trilogy to be mostly “understood on their own.”
“In the film, our beloved band of misfits are looking a bit different these days,” reads the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel’s synopsis. “Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.”
Gunn returned to write and direct “Vol. 3,” which is his final Marvel movie before he takes the reins at rival comic book banner DC Studios. In the past, the “Guardians” movies have been promising box office performers. The first film ended its theatrical run with $333 million domestically and $773 million globally, while the follow-up tapped out with $389 million domestically and $863 million globally. Heading into the summer, there were predictions that “Vol. 3” would break records by the time it leaves theaters, but that’s no longer a guarantee. However, the studio is hoping that positive word of mouth, including the film’s “A” grade on CinemaScore and 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, prolongs its life in theaters.