‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Launches With $110 Million-Plus Box Office Opening

While well below its 2017 predecessor, James Gunn’s trilogy capper is enjoying strong audience reception

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Zoe Saldana as Gamora in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL)

Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is keeping the momentum the box office enjoyed in April going with a $48 million opening day from 4,450 locations, setting up James Gunn’s final MCU film for a $111 million opening.

That’s on the lower end of box office projections that ranged from $110-130 million and is closer to the $106 million opening of the ill-fated “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” than the $146.5 million opening that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” enjoyed in 2017.

The good news, however, is that “Guardians Vol. 3” has earned stellar audience reception, the sort that Marvel used to enjoy on almost every film until it hit a rough patch with films like “Eternals,” “Thor: Love & Thunder” and “Quantumania.” This time around, “Vol. 3” has Rotten Tomatoes scores of 81% critics and 95% audience along with an A on CinemaScore and 5/5 on PostTrak, matching the scores of the previous two “Guardians” films.

Such strong audience reception should allow “Guardians Vol. 3” to avoid the steep drops that “Quantumania” suffered earlier this year and to make full use of the two weeks of premium format play it will have before the release of “Fast X.”

Elsewhere, Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” took its largest weekend drop so far thanks to the new competition from “Guardians Vol. 3,” dropping 55% to a fifth weekend total of $18.5 million. But that is still enough to push the film past $500 million in domestic grosses, joining “Incredibles 2” and the 2019 “Lion King” remake as only the third animated film to reach that mark.

Farther down the charts, Sony/Screen Gems’ romantic comedy “Love Again” is opening to just $2.6 million from 2,703 theaters. The romantic comedy starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan and Celine Dion got panned by critics with a 13% Rotten Tomatoes score but has done better with audiences with a B on CinemaScore, 4/5 on PostTrak and 92% RT Audience score.