"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" has managed to break a Marvel Studios film record even before landing in theaters. The sequel to the 2014 surprise hit scored a perfect 100 in test screenings, beating previous high-scorers "Iron Man 3" and "The Avengers" in Marvel's internal metrics according to The Hollywood Reporter. Both films scored in the high 90s out of 100.
The majority of film studios recruit audience test screeners in the Los Angeles area. Viewers will watch a movie and then be asked to rate it on a scale between 1 and 100. Marvel does things slightly different with a "friends and families screenings" approach which allows them to control security leaks and spoilers from getting out to the public. This process has been in place since "Iron Man" kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While a 100 score is something for Marvel to be proud of, it can only be compared to other films produced by the studio since non-Marvel movies use different screening procedures. Producers and executives caution against putting too much weight on a movie's audience score, with one producer stating, "It’s a single tool in a whole toolbox arsenal."
Some examples of lower-testing films that went on to have massive success are "Pretty Woman" (70s score), "Black Swan" (55 score), "Forrest Gump" (88 score), and "Argo" (90s score). Horror movies tend to draw some of the lowest scores in the 60s. TV shows also conduct testing, with "Glee" and "Hill Street Blues" given as examples of series that tested poorly yet were embraced by audiences.
Another executive is quoted as saying "What an audience enjoys isn't necessarily what it responds to."
Even with so much audience testing taking place, some studios skip the process altogether. The decision can come down to special effects not being done in time for testing or for secrecy concerns, like with the "Star Wars" franchise.
Written and directed by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2″ stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Kurt Russel. The film arrives in theaters May 5.