It was a Chris Pratt versus Chris Pratt showdown at the box office last weekend as "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" finally dethroned "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" in a promising lead-up to this year's summer movie season.
Disney and Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" opened in first place at the domestic box office with $114 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. After a four-week streak at No. 1, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" came in second, adding $18.6 million for a North American cumulative of $518.1 million.
The latest "Guardians" installment matched early box-office projections, which anticipated that the film would make about $110 million in the United States and Canada. Internationally, the superhero flick amassed $168 million for a global cumulative of $282 million, according to studio estimates.
Domestically, it' an impressive sum for any movie and slightly less than what we've come to expect from a Marvel opening. Last year on the same weekend, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," riding on the success of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," raked in $187.4 million in its first three days in North America. And in November, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" also opened over $181.3 million.
But things have come back to earth this year, at least by high-flying superhero standards. "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" debuted just over $106 million on its way to $474 million worldwide. At rival studio DC/Warner Bros., "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" only made $133.4 million total. The question on some analysts' minds last weekend is whether it's because of the specific character or a bigger concern of "superhero fatigue."
For Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, it's still a solid opening for the summer season, which he said is poised to deliver the most robust profits since 2019.
"Although 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's' debut may reflect a bit of audience fatigue for the reliable superhero genre, this is just the beginning for what promises to be an irresistible movie marketplace with a killer combination of appealing films for every taste and every audience demographic," Dergarabedian said.
"Guardians Vol. 3" sees the return of actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Reviews have been mostly positive, but a little more divided than previous installments. And it remains difficult to compare a pre-pandemic opening such as Vol. 2's $146 million debut (May 2017) with a post-pandemic one.
The next major superhero movie on the schedule is DC's "The Flash," set for June 16, which has its own flurry of intrigue around it because of star Ezra Miller's legal and personal troubles.
"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" added $18.6 million in its fifth weekend to take second place, bringing its domestic total to $518.1 million. Globally, it has now surpassed $1.1 billion.
No. 3 at the domestic box office last weekend was Warner Bros.' "Evil Dead Rise," which scared up $5.7 million in its third weekend for a North American total of $54.1 million. In fourth place was "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," with $3.4 million -- both were holdovers.
Studios left the weekend mostly clear for the superhero behemoth, but Screen Gems and Sony did debut their new Priyanka Chopra Jonas romantic comedy "Love Again" (featuring Celine Dion and some new songs) in 2703 locations. It made a modest $2.4 million to take the fifth place spot.
Opening in wide release this weekend are Focus Features' "Book Club: The Next Chapter" and Viva Pictures' "Rally Road Racers."