Analysing Guardians of the Galaxy 3's box office performance

·3-min read

After the disappointing box office (and reviews) for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, all eyes have been on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 to see whether the next Phase 5 release from the MCU would be more of a success.

The final (for now, at least) adventure for the Guardians team had an impressive opening weekend, making $118 million at the US box office, and added more than $60 million to its US box office total in its second weekend, a weekend-on-weekend drop of 49%.

That may sound like a big drop from the first weekend, but for a superhero movie it's a second weekend figure to be proud of.

According to Variety, out of more than 30 Marvel movies that have been released, only Black Panther (45%) and Thor (47%) have boasted stronger holds – while movies like Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and, yes, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania have seen their box office drop by almost 70% after their opening weekends. Gulp.

rocket , guardians of the galaxy vol 3
Marvel Studios

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has already made more than $530 million worldwide in just two weeks – which is nearly $100 million more than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania managed by the end of its run.

With the original Guardians of the Galaxy making a final total of $770 million worldwide when it was released in 2014, and 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 making $869 million, it means that the third movie could out-perform both films if it continues to hold audiences' attention over the next few weeks.

Of course, that may be tricky with the imminent release of potential blockbusters Fast X and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, but Guardians 3 does have the advantage of both strong reviews from critics and high audience scores, too.

Currently scoring 82% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes (and 94% audience score) and 64 on Metacritic, it's not scoring quite as high as Guardians of the Galaxy (92% Rotten Tomatoes and 76 Metacritic) or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (85% Rotten Tomatoes and 67 Metacritic), but it is still rating higher than some other recent sequels in the MCU.

(Yes, we mean you again, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and – sorry mighty Thor – both the Thor sequels, too.)

chris pratt, guardians of the galaxy vol 3
Marvel Studios

The threequel is also notable for putting star Chris Pratt in competition with himself.

With a US box office (to date) of $214 million, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is already the second most successful movie of 2023 in the US – and the number one slot is being held by the animated behemoth that is The Super Mario Bros. Movie, featuring, of course, Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario.

It's unlikely that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will ever steal that top spot away, especially as there are some potentially huge movies set to be released this summer, including The Flash, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the new Mission: Impossible movie (after the huge success of Top Gun: Maverick, everyone has learned you never bet against Tom Cruise) and Barbie.

It also likely won't reach the $1 billion mark, especially as Hollywood movies continue to struggle in China where Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has made $60 million so far. A decent result given recent blockbuster performances, but not a gamechanger.

However, it is nonetheless a resounding box office success for Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy crew, and – if it must be – an impressive farewell that James Gunn and his team can be proud of.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in cinemas now. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 and Vol 2 and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special are streaming on Disney+.

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