If one were in need for a reminder of just how much people love Marvel movies, and I genuinely can’t imagine anyone was, the early performance of James Gunn‘s odd and oddly endearing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 should serve as a massive reminder. The latest Marvel volume took in $56.2 million on Friday, leaving all its competition in the dust. The current estimates have the sequel to 2014’s amusing, messy Guardians of the Galaxy coming in at over $140 million, meaning that it’ll likely take second to Beauty and the Beast as this year’s biggest domestic opening thus far. There’s also an out-there chance that it could snatch away The Fate of the Furious‘ title for best international opening weekend of 2017 as well. That’s how big this thing has gotten in the years since Jon Favreau‘s delightful Iron Man.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is also an entertaining mess but it’s one made of sincere ambition rather than an overt attempt to tally up potential demographics to please. There’s no obvious ploy to simply xerox the narrative DNA of the first film, which was a tremendous box office success, and in Kurt Russell‘s Ego, Gunn has crafted one of the most interesting characters in the MCU to date. Unfortunately, the feeling that you’re watching a season of TV condensed into a two-hour action-packed riot is still firmly in place here, but Gunn’s wondrously colorful and inventive visual palette lends the sequel some of the best images in the MCU, up there with its predecessor, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and Iron Man 3.
Not even a behemoth like The Fate of the Furious, which took in $2.2 million on Friday, is going to be even close to Marvel’s latest by the end of the week. It’s arrival has somewhat reconfigured the box office’s standings as well, with The Boss Baby showing impressive strength in the third spot with $1.3 million, just barely edging out How to Be a Latin Lover in the fourth place by some $5,000. And while The Circle has seen a humongous decline from last week’s paltry performance to land in the sixth place, Beauty and the Beast holds steady in the fifth spot with $1.2 million. Unlike The Fate of the Furious, Guardians 2 won’t have a few weeks to dominate over specialized openers. Though it should ably defeat both King Arthur and Snatched next weekend, the following weekend brings major competition in the form of Ridley Scott‘s Alien Covenant. For now, however, its reign is unquestionable.