29,327 has become a significant number within the film industry, for that is the number of dollar bills separating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and its predecessor at the domestic box office. Now in its fourth week of release, James Gunn's cosmic sequel has surged the MCU box office charts, surpassing the original and claiming the fifth-place spot both domestically and worldwide.
After this weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy 2's domestic total is now at $333.21 million, edging past the first film's US total of $333.18 million. Significantly, though, its foreign total of $450.1 million is almost $10 million ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy, bringing its worldwide box office gross to $783.3 million, and rendering it one of the most successful sequels the #MCU has ever produced.
With a few weeks left in theaters, #GuardiansoftheGalaxy2 is expected to earn $800 million, leaving it short of the billion dollar superhero club that starts with the fourth spot (Captain America: Civil War, which made $1.15 billion). However, numbers only tell part of the story. Before we catapult ourselves into the abyss of box office space, to put the success of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 into context, the top-performing MCU films to date are as follows:
- Marvel's The Avengers ($623.4 million domestic, $1.51 billion worldwide)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459m domestic, $1.41bn worldwide)
- Iron Man 3 ($409m domestic, $1.21bn worldwide)
- Captain America: Civil War ($405.1m domestic, $1.2bn worldwide)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($333.2m domestic, $783.3m worldwide — projected to make $800m).
- Guardians of the Galaxy ($333.3m domestic, $773.3 million worldwide)
The film's performance is even more impressive considering that Iron Man 3 is the only non-Avengers instalment to outperform it financially, with Iron Man 2's worldwide total trailing behind at $623.9 million worldwide. The question is, what is the magic ingredient responsible for making the sequel such a success, and can Guardians of the Galaxy 3 follow Iron Man's trend by breaking the elusive billion dollar barrier?
'Guardians Of The Galaxy 2's' Success Is Playing To Its Strengths
*Warning: Spoiler-heavy plot details of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are coming*
As the old adage goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Writer and director Gunn is clearly a believer of that motto, using Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as an opportunity to enhance the attributes that audiences most enjoyed with the quirky cosmic adventure, evidenced early on by scoring a rare 100 in #Marvel's test screenings.
By far, the biggest draw was the chemistry between the Guardians themselves, consisting of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hit the sweet spot, building on the dynamic and relationships between the group, but also revealing an ace up the sleeve — Ego the Living Planet.
As well as being arguably one of the best MCU villains, Ego's biggest influence bizarrely wasn't his intention to destroy the entire universe as we know it. Although his evil-omnipotence worked to create a spectacular antagonist, Ego's most crucial scenes occur during his interactions with his son, Star-Lord. He is "absent father" first, "universe-destroying demigod" second.
Smaller interactions aside, Ego also allowed Yondu's story arc to flourish. The villain of the first movie is afforded the perfect redemption arc as we understand the lengths he went to to protect Star-Lord, as well as the sacrifices he had to make. And, although a character most would love to have seen return to the MCU, his tragic death had a Shakespearian charm to it which clearly resonated with audiences.
Finally, a lot can be said for Gunn's visual flair. Although there are a core number of fans that'll make sure they see every MCU film in cinemas, the aesthetic appeal of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 would entice even casual cinemagoers to part with extra cash to witness the cosmic adventure in the excessive delight of IMAX 3D.
Why 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3' Can Join The Billon Dollar Club
There's every reason to predict that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will fare even better, with a decent chance of breaking the eight-digit barrier. The biggest draw is James Gunn's confirmed return to writing and directing duties; Gunn is, by all accounts, one of the most autonomous directors within the MCU, and more often than not is left to his own devices.
The key will be keeping to the winning formula, while making things bigger, better and brighter. With an expected release date of 2020, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will follow the Guardians' appearance in Infinity War and, due to the MCU's timeline, it'll more than likely be set years after Guardians of the Galaxy 2 — giving Gunn the freedom to take things in a fresh direction.
Although the line-up is expected to be different, the core of the group will remain (including an older Groot). Ayesha — a formidable and laudable villain — will return, and the highly anticipated Adam Warlock will make his fully-fledged debut, after his inclusion was teased in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. If that's not a billion dollar lineup, I don't know what is.
It may've made more money, but is Guardians of the Galaxy 2 the better film?
(Source: Box Office Mojo)