Long Range Box Office Forecast: Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3")

Summer movie season is just one month away. This week’s report takes a preliminary look at the latest Marvel release to kick off the lucrative industry period, a long-standing tradition over the past two decades.

As usual, early forecasts and other tracking updates are in the chart below.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Disney & Marvel Studios
May 5, 2023


  • The first two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sub-franchise were considerable box office and audience hits in 2014 and 2017, generating a combined $723.5 million domestically alongside average Rotten Tomatoes critics’ and audience scores of 89 percent.
  • The characters’ popularity continued to help subsequent Marvel films, most notably Avengers: Infinity War with the Guardians taking a prominent place in its storyline. Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder would also go on to benefit from their supporting roles.
  • Initial trailer reaction and social sentiments for Vol. 3 are positive as fans anticipate the promised closing of a trilogy and James Gunn’s return as writer and director. Combined with the familiarity and affinity casual audiences have for the pre-established characters, staying power could be driven by a relatively less front-loaded run than that of other franchise sequels.
  • With no event tentpoles on the calendar after early April’s Super Mario Bros. Movie, market demand will be primed and ready for a big opening weekend to begin summer. Early pre-sales for premium screen formats are particularly encouraging.


  • Recent audience division over multiple MCU sequels may start taking a moderate toll on the broader franchise in the short term. Despite healthy overall box office returns, mixed reception has greeted Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
  • The above observation is borne out by initial pre-sales for Vol. 3, which are currently trending below all post-Endgame releases other than Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (though competing with Mario‘s release week is a notable hindrance). Pre-release marketing impact is similarly not generating the kind of social media imprint volume as any of 2023’s MCU releases.
  • In fairness, Guardians films have in the past shown a tendency to drive less immediate rush than other Marvel sequels thanks to their lighter, comedic tone that appeals to casual viewers. That could be true again without a clear “universe-impacting” hook present in marketing to drive an immediate rush so far, but pre-release buzz and reviews could be more important than they have been for prior MCU sequels.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2023’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 4/7/23)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Distributor
4/14/2023 Beau Is Afraid (Limited)         A24
4/14/2023 Mafia Mamma         Bleecker Street
4/14/2023 Nefarious         Soli Deo Gloria Releasing
4/14/2023 The Pope’s Exorcist $4,000,000 – $7,500,000   $9,000,000 – $20,000,000   Sony Pictures / Screen Gems
4/14/2023 Renfield $11,000,000 – $16,000,000 -13% $29,000,000 – $46,000,000 -13% Universal Pictures
4/14/2023 Suzume $4,000,000 – $9,000,000   $8,000,000 – $18,000,000   Crunchyroll / Sony
4/14/2023 Sweetwater         Briarcliff Entertainment
4/21/2023 Beau Is Afraid (Wide)         A24
4/21/2023 Chevalier         Disney / Searchlight Pictures
4/21/2023 The Covenant $4,000,000 – $8,000,000   $11,000,000 – $27,000,000   MGM & STX Films
4/21/2023 Evil Dead Rise $21,000,000 – $30,000,000   $42,000,000 – $67,000,000   Warner Bros. Pictures
4/28/2023 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. $18,000,000 – $23,000,000   $54,000,000 – $86,000,000   Lionsgate
4/28/2023 Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World $9,000,000 – $14,000,000   $28,000,000 – $50,000,000   Sony / AFFIRM Films
4/28/2023 Polite Society         Focus Features
4/28/2023 Sisu         Lionsgate
5/5/2023 Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 $120,000,000 – $155,000,000   $288,000,000 – $403,000,000   Disney / Marvel Studios

Unless otherwise noted, all figures above represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation at the time of this report’s publication date. These are statistical snapshots, not final forecasts.

Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections for theatrical movies up to 12 months from release are available to clients.

For more information about this article or to report any corrections, please contact the author.

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3")

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