‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Debuts as Second-Biggest Opening of The Year

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After three weeks of “Furious” box office results, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios, took over this weekend.

The sequel to the 2014 film brought in an estimated $145 million in the U.S. and Canada, coming in below analyst expectations of $150 million. The adventure flick is the second-highest opening of the year, behind Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” ($175 million), and marks a solid official start to the summer movie season.

“Guardians Vol. 2,” which cost $200 million to make, is opening significantly higher than the first film in the franchise, which pulled in a $94 million haul with the arrival of its original spin on the superhero genre, complete with winking humor and a 1970s pop soundtrack.

With writer-director James Gunn still on board, stars Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana return for the sequel, which also introduces newcomers Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone.

Both critics and audiences (56 percent male; 72 percent adults) appear pleased with the film. Moviegoers gave it an A on CinemaScore, and the picture has a respectable 82 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.

“Guardians 2” is an international hit as well, bringing in $124 million in its second weekend globally. Its international gross to date is $283 million. While it is still too early to tell what the final box-office run will look like for the sequel, the original “Guardians” kept bringing audiences back, eventually taking in $333 million in the U.S. and Canada and $440 million overseas.

Gunn is set to write and direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” the filmmaker said in April.

“The Fate of the Furious” from Universal Pictures dropped to second place in its fourth week with $8.5 million. It has pulled in $207.1 million to date domestically.

Landing in third place was 20th Century Fox’s “The Boss Baby,” which coughed up $6.2 million in its sixth week. The animated picture has grossed $156.7 million domestically.

In fourth place is Lionsgate-Pantelions’ “How to Be a Latin Lover,” which had a $5.3 million take in its second week. It has pulled in $20.7 million to date.

“Beauty and the Beast,” with $4.9 million, landed in fifth place. The live-action tale has brought in $487.6 million domestically with a worldwide gross at $1.2 billion, making it the 11th highest-grossing movie of all time.

On the limited-release front, the Weinstein Co.’s long-delayed “Three Generations” opened to a poor $20,000 from six locations. Formerly titled “About Ray,” the film follows a mother (Naomi Watts) and grandmother (Susan Sarandon) as they grapple with their teen’s decision to begin a medical transition from female to male. Originally set to debut just days after its Toronto International Film Festival premiere two years ago, the movie was pulled following controversy surrounding its casting of Elle Fanning, a cisgender woman (meaning she identifies as the sex she was assigned at birth), as the trans character. The picture has a 33 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating and will expand next week.

Going up against “Guardians” next week will be Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” and Fox’s Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn comedy “Snatched.” In limited release will be BH Tilt’s Los Angeles-set “Lowriders,” starring Demian Bichir, Eva Longoria and Gabriel Chavarria.

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