Ooga chaka, indeed. Three weeks away from the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” trackers have submitted huge projections for the next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The sequel is expected to make at least $150 million in its opening weekend, which would put it in the top 5 highest openings for Marvel Studios. In audience surveys, it has a first choice score of 28 percent and a definite interest score of 63 percent.
“The Avengers” still holds the studio opening weekend record with a whopping $207 million made back in 2012. Following that on Marvel’s top opening are “Avengers: Age of Ultron” ($191 million), “Captain America: Civil War” ($174 million) “Iron Man 3,” ($171 million) and the pre-MCU film “Spider-Man 3” ($151 million).
In the hands of director James Gunn, the Guardians of the Galaxy have gone from obscure characters in Marvel’s line of comic book heroes to icons on the same level as Iron Man and Captain America. The first “Guardians” film, released in August 2014, made $94 million in its opening weekend, then an all-time record for the month of August until it was broken by “Suicide Squad” two years later. “Vol. 2” was announced before the first Guardians was even released and had its release date moved from July 28 to May 5 after the first film grossed $773 million worldwide.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will see Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), continue his adventures with his fellow Guardians two months after they bonded as a team by rescuing the galaxy from Ronan. But now that the excitement of their victory has faded away, the Guardians are having a hard time keeping their newfound family together as Gamora crosses paths again with her step-sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) is forced to adjust to being the protector of Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), and Quill is forced to once again confront his past when he meets his father, the living planet Ego (Kurt Russell).
Directed and written by Gunn and produced by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, the film also sees Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker and Glenn Close return to the cast along with newcomers Pom Klementieff and Sylvester Stallone.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” will get its worldwide premiere in 25 markets — including France, Australia, Hong Kong, and the U.K. — starting April 25. It will be released domestically on May 5.