Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 doesn’t open in the United States until May 5, but international box office returns portend good times ahead for the latest Marvel space adventure.
Across 37 international openings, Guardians 2 has picked up an estimated $101.2 million in ticket sales. It’s on pace for a #1 box office finish in 34 of those countries, only falling short in Portugal, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Guardians 2 is also off to a healthier start than its predecessor. The movie’s estimated opening box office is larger than that of Guardians 1 in every one of the 37 markets it landed in this weekend, save for Belgium — which hosted previews of the original movie.
Some important context: “37 markets” might sound like a lot, but these locations individually represent a small fraction of the global film market. The biggest Guardians 2 opening this weekend was in the United Kingdom, with an estimated $15.5 million box office.
That’s not to suggest Guardians 2 isn’t popular — it’s more a reflection of the differing market sizes once you start looking at filmgoing audiences outside the United States. Think of this first, pre-U.S. opening weekend instead as a preview of what’s to come.
In that sense, Guardians 2 looks like it’s headed for “hit” status. It’s the U.K.’s second-biggest opening of 2017, and also the second-biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe opening in the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands. It was also the MCU’s biggest start to date in Austria.
In addition to the May 5 opening in the U.S., Guardians also opens in a number of other key markets, including South Korea, Russia, and — most significantly — China.
For comparison: across the life of its theatrical run, the first Guardians picked up $333.2 million in the U.S. and $440.2 million from foreign markets. Even without China, Russia, and South Korea — some of the foreign consumers of Hollywood blockbusters — in the mix, Guardians 2 has earned almost a quarter of its predecessor’s overseas total.
It was, unsurprisingly, a quiet box office weekend domestically. Major studios wisely avoided releasing anything major in the week before Guardians 2, leaving weeks-old favorites to duke it out with a handful of lower-profile newcomers.
The Fate of the Furious owns the #1 spot once again, with an estimated $19.4 million. As I predicted last weekend, it is now a $1 billion-seller at the box office, thanks to $192.7 million earned domestically and an astonishing $867.6 million from foreign markets.
China owns more than a third of the overseas total, with $319.4 million for Fate so far. None of the other territories come close to that figure; next in line is the U.K., with $29.5 million.
All box office figures provided by comScore and Box Office Mojo, with additional context around overseas ticket sales provided by Disney.