“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” launched Thursday night with $17 million at the U.S. box office, the third-largest previews performance for a Marvel Studios release. The James Gunn film falls in behind 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” with $27.6 million, and “2016’s Captain America: Civil War” with $25 million.
The sequel to 2014’s hit “Guardians of the Galaxy” is on track to open this weekend in North America with somewhere between $150 million and $170 million. The film is already a cosmic force overseas, where it debuted last weekend in about 53 percent of foreign markets, and raked in $106 million. To date, it’s earned $167 million internationally.
By comparison, the first “Guardians” opened domestically in August 2014 with $94 million, on its way to a total of $333 million in North America and $440 million internationally. Of course since then Marvel’s team of cosmic “a-holes” has grown from an unknown property to virtually a household name.
Written and directed by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Glenn Close as Irani Rael and Kurt Russell as Ego.