‘Guardians Vol. 2’ Sends Summer Season Off to Fast Start

Chris Pratt and his band of oddball Marvel superheroes picked up right where they left off in the new “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

The latest film from Walt Disney Co.’s cast of comic-book characters opened as the No. 1 picture in U.S. and Canadian theaters, researcher ComScore Inc. said in an email Monday, with $146.5 million in weekend sales to kick off Hollywood’s summer season. Analysts had put estimated sales at about $160 million, while the studio predicted about $150 million. 

The sequel to a 2014 release was the only movie making its debut in wide release, meaning if kids and young adults were searching for something new, “Guardians Vol. 2” was it.

The new story resumes up where the last ended, with the Guardians mixed up in intergalactic shenanigans, working for a race of aliens called The Sovereign. James Gunn returns to the sequel as writer and director, with many of the original cast. Pratt stars again as Peter Quill, alongside Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel as Baby Groot.

In addition, Kurt Russell features as Ego, claiming to be Quill’s father. The team sets out to unravel the mystery of Quill’s parentage.

“Guardians Vol. 2” is one of three titles coming from Burbank, California-based Disney this summer, which is the busiest time of the year for film companies and typically when they release their biggest pictures. 

The original was a surprise success, featuring a cast of lesser-known Marvel characters defending the galaxy. Produced for about $170 million, it opened with domestic weekend sales of $94 million and went on to produce $773.3 million in worldwide ticket revenue, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

The sequel, as is often the case, cost more to make, at $200 million, according to Box Office Mojo. That doesn’t include marketing costs that run into the tens of millions of dollars.

Critics liked the new “Guardians,” with 82 percent giving positive reviews, according to aggregator Rottentomatoes.com.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.