Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Groot are flying to the big screen once again in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which hits theaters in just a few months.
There's been a lot of debate on whether the sequel would live up to the hype and be as well-received as its predecessor. And it looks like it will. The Hollywood Reporter has reported that #GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol2 just received a historic score of 100 from its first test screening. That's the first movie in Marvel Studios' history to reach a perfect score. For comparison, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers scored in the high 90s.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind before we get all excited and declare Vol. 2 as one of the modern cinematic masterpieces of the live-action #comicbook genre.
Marvel Test Screenings Work A Bit Differently Than Others
When studios hold test screenings, they usually pick random people from supermarkets and malls and ask them to rate their films from 1 to 100. #Marvel puts a different spin on that practice, though. In an effort to maintain secrecy around their films and prevent spoilers from leaking, they conduct "friends and family screenings," which is pretty self-explanatory.
That doesn't mean they invite just anyone close to the people working at the company; their selection process is strict, but nonetheless, it's still comprised of a more trusted group of viewers. So it is quite a different procedure than normal, which means we can't really compare this score to, say, Batman v Superman's. It's worth keeping in mind that it's still a rigorous process and more standardized than most studios.
Is It Indicative Of How The Film Will Be Received?
Forrest Gump scored a respectable 88 in its initial test screening but went on to become one of the most iconic films in modern movie history. Black Swan scored a bit higher than 50, and we all know how critically successful the film turned out. So this score is not always an accurate projection of the movie's reception once it hits theaters.
However, that's not to say the results don't give us anything at all regarding information. Prior to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we discovered that Tom Hiddleston would be reprising his role as Loki. But when the film was released, the God of Mischief was nowhere to be seen. After months of scratching our heads, wondering where his confirmed appearance went, Hiddleston cleared up the matter for us. And spoilers, test screenings had to do with his absence:
"I was part of the dream sequence for the character of Thor. I shot for a day and enjoyed it very much, and then I received a phone call from Kevin Feige [who] said that in test screenings, audiences had overemphasized Loki’s role. They thought that because I was in it, I was controlling Ultron, and it was actually imbalancing people’s expectations so Joss and Kevin were like, ‘Let’s cut it because it’s confusing people.’[ …] It made sense to me when I saw that film."
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So a test screening's reception can affect the course of a film. And friends and family aside, Marvel will still expect honesty from the focus group, not a bunch of sycophants. Therefore, if Vol. 2 received 100 good points from everyone watching it, the film is on target to remain as it was originally conceived. Now all that remains is hope for another amazing adventure with our favorite space A-holes.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, 2017.