For the last two years (and four of the last five years) Marvel has kept a foothold on the first weekend in May, which kicks off the summer movie season. The studio still holds the May record for the biggest opening with The Avengers' $207.4 million debut, but their most recent May hits, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.2 million) and last year's Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million) have fallen just short of that mark. This year, the studio releases Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is the only movie opening in wide release this Friday, and will definitely hit quite huge, getting the summer season off to a great start. But it may still fall short of The Avengers' all-time Marvel record, opening with a predicted $181.7 million.
Box Office Mojo reports that Marvel is planning on rolling out Guardians 2 in approximately 4,200 theaters, which falls in line with the rollout of the last few Marvel blockbusters. Last year's Captain America: Civil War opened in 4,226 theaters for a $42,390 per-screen average, while 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron debuted in 4,276 theaters for a $44,731 per-screen average. When taking our $181.7 million projection into account, with a debut in approximately 4,200 theaters, the Marvel sequel's per-screen average comes out to $43,261, but we don't have an exact theater count yet so that may not be quite accurate.
The one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that no other studios want to compete with Marvel Studios movies, at least not their most coveted properties. Both Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in the first weekend of May with no other movies competing against it in wide release. The original Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which opened in the first week of August in 2014, debuted with $94.3 million, with only one new release competing against it, Universal's musical biopic Get On Up, which earned $13.5 million in a distant third place. However, it's brand new adventures like Doctor Strange, which opened against Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge, and Ant-Man, which debuted against Trainwreck, that don't seem to pose as much of a threat to rival studios.
Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes' aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. Original Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Vin Diesel (Baby Groot), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Sean Gunn (Kraglin) return, alongside franchise newcomers Sylvester Stallone (Starhawk), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) and Kurt Russell (Ego the Living Planet)
Rounding out the top 10 will likely be The Fate of the Furious ($10.1 million), How to Be a Latin Lover ($7.4 million), Baahubali: The Conclusion (6 million), The Circle ($5.7 million), The Boss Baby ($4.6 million), Beauty and the Beast ($4.2 million), Going in Style ($2.6 million), Smurfs: The Lost Village ($1.8 million) and Gifted ($1.3 million). Also opening in limited release are The Weinstein Company's drama 3 Generations, The Orchard's thriller The Diner, A24's romantic comedy The Lovers, Argot Pictures' documentary Sacred and Well Go USA's romantic comedy This Is Not What I Expected. It remains to be seen if any of those projects will expand in the weeks to come.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Warner Bros. will roll out its fantasy adventure King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword, starring Charlie Hunnam, while 20th Century Fox debuts the Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched and Blumhouse Tilt rolls out Lowriders, starring Demian Bichir and Theo Rossi. Also opening in limited release is Atlas Distribution's Absolutely Anything, Vladar Company's Generation Iron 2, Sony Pictures Classics comedy Paris Can Wait, First Run's documentary Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, Roadside Attracions' thriller The Wall and their romantic comedy The Wedding Plan and Arrow Films' Whiskey Galore. Take a look at our projections for the weekend of May 5, and check back on Sunday for the box office estimates.