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‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’ blasts off with $145M opening

FILE – This image released by Disney-Marvel shows Zoe Saldana, from left, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Rocket, with the voice of Bradley Cooper, in a scene from, “Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2.” “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” rose to $17 million on opening night, right in the beginning of the showings of the first film. Disney reported sales estimates for Thursday night, May 4, 2017, an example of screenings on Friday morning. The sequel is Thursday night revenue, the biggest of the year so far. (Disney, Marvel via AP)

NEW YORK – “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” rocketed to an estimated $145 million debut in North America, kicking off Hollywood’s summer movie season with something the movie has been craving: a sequel with more success than the original.

Director James Gunn’s second “Guardians” film was 54 percent higher than in 2014 runaway hit, according to studio estimates Sunday.

That release, that intergalactic band of misfits played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, debuted with $94 million in the first weekend.

Once a little known, eccentric property in Marvel’s vault, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” has become one of the comic-book factory’s biggest brands.

The Walt Disney Co. validated the emergence of the “Guards”, by moving it from August (when the original opened in the first weekend in May. Marvel has the same weekend in order to be effective, the launch of the summer season for the last decade.

The opening for the “Guardians Vol. 2,” made for approximately $200 million, is the second largest of the year, following Disney’s “beauty and the Beast” ($174.8 million). But it is evident in the current poor performance continue, the development of a plague in Hollywood. Last summer saw a litany of sequels that not at an earlier time limits.

“We have spent a lot of time watching the sequels, and the idea of a sequel-itis,” said David Hollis, distribution chief for Disney. “Really, poor quality of the movies is the thing that is, more than anything, was turned down by the consumer in the time. The ambition was to create something that was incredibly fresh and exciting. As long as we can continue to deliver high-quality storytelling, a high-quality of world-creation, we are in good shape.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” scored on that plane, the landing of A CinemaScore from audiences and 82 percent “fresh” rating from critics on Rotten tomatoes. In two weeks of international release, the film also has a $269 million abroad. A third “Guardians” is already planned, are the cross-overs with Marvel’s Avengers.

But “Guardians” may turn the tide for the summer, sue will be a much-followed story line as the season progresses. The bottom line of just about any studio depends on it.

On the horizon are big-budget sequels like “Alien: Covenant, “” Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead men Tell No Tales,” “Cars 3,” “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “Despicable Me 3” and “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

“I think this is one of the greatest summers ever. Of course last summer was a disappointment. We had plenty of sequels — more than a dozen — who were not at the promise of their immediate predecessor,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “The summer of 2017 brings us back on the right track. There is a hope that there is.”

Out of fear for the power of “Guards” no other major studio releases debuted in the weekend. The gap between the first and second at the box office was immense. “The Fate of the Furious” came in at no. 2 with $8.5 million in the fourth weekend. The Universal release, the eighth installment in the franchise, has grossed $1.6 billion worldwide.

The only film that sells tickets worldwide at about the same pace as the “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” was the South Indian continued “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.” The Tollywood movie (Telugu language) in two weeks, a gross profit of $147.3 million worldwide, according to comScore. That sets a new mark for an Indian film at the worldwide box office.

A handful of films in limited domestic release open including A24 “The Lovers” with Debra Winger, and Tracy Letts ($70,410 in four scenes); the Weinstein Co.’s “3 Generations” with Elle Fanning ($20,118 on four screens); IFC’s “Chuck”, with Live Schreiber ($40,416 on four screens); and Laura Poitras’ Julian Assange documentary, “Risk” ($75,179 on 34 screens).

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2,” $145 million ($124 million international).

2. “The Fate of the Furious,” $8.5 million ($30.1 million international).

3. “The Boss of the Baby,” $6.2 million ($11.9 million international).

4. “How to be a Latin Lover,” $5.3 million ($5.6 million international).

5. “Belle and the Beast,” $4.9 million ($11.9 million international).

6. “The Circle” at $4 million.

7. “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” $3.2 million ($43.9 million international).

8. “Gifted,” $2.1 million.

9 “in Style” $1.9 million ($3.1 million international).

10. “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” $1.8 million ($5.6 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2,” $124 million.

2. “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” the $43.9 million.

3. “The Fate of the Furious,” $30.1 million.

4. “The Boss of the Baby,” $17 million.

5. “Belle and the Beast,” $11.9 million.

6. “Danagal,” $10.7 million.

7. “Get out,” $8.3 million

8. “The Sheriff,” $7.3 million

9. “Shock Wave,” $7.1 million.

10. “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” $5.6 million.

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