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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could be the next box office bummer for Marvel

Published Apr 13th, 2023 7:25PM EDT
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023.
Image: Marvel Studios

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If Marvel expected Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to kick the MCU back into high gear at the box office, the studio might want to lower its expectations. According to tracking estimates (via Deadline), the next Guardians movie is trending toward a $130 million opening weekend when it debuts on May 5. That would be about $16.5 million lower than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which generated $146.5 million in its first three days in 2017.

How will Guardians Vol. 3 do at the box office?

When it comes to post-pandemic opening weekends, nothing has sniffed Spider-Man: No Way Home, which made over $260 million in America. That’s the second biggest opening weekend of all time behind the behemoth that was Avengers: Endgame.

Since then, a Marvel Studios movie hasn’t topped $200 million on opening weekend. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hit $187 million, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made $181 million. Meanwhile, Thor: Love and Thunder didn’t come close ($144 million), and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania barely eclipsed $100 million.

These movies are still making hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, but it’s a far cry from when Marvel movies were regularly topping $1 billion worldwide.

As for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, while the early tracking data isn’t very impressive, it’s not like the movie is box office poison. Distribution sources tell Deadline that once the Marvel marketing machine starts firing on all cylinders, the estimates will start to rise. Given the track record of this series and the excitement surrounding the return of these beloved characters, Guardians Vol. 3 could easily reverse Marvel’s downward trend.

Obviously, Disney and Marvel want the movie to make money, but it might be just as important that Guardians Vol. 3 improves the increasingly negative sentiment surrounding the MCU. Ant-Man 3, Marvel’s latest movie, is tied with Eternals for the worst-reviewed MCU movie on Rotten Tomatoes. Thor: Love and Thunder, which came out last year, is circling the drain with it.

For better or worse, there’s a lot riding on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which comes to theaters on May 5, 2023, beyond its box office success

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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