Box Office Predictions: Summer kicks off with the Guardians of the Galaxy

The summer movie season kicks off with the final Guardians of the Galaxy film expected to do around $120 million

It is finally upon us: The 2023 Summer Movie Season. In many ways, this feels almost like the first true Summer Movie Season since 2019. Sure last year had some highly anticipated films that turned into monster hits, but it felt like we were still playing catch up from the pandemic, especially when you consider the biggest film of the summer, Top Gun: Maverick, was originally meant to hit theaters on June 24, 2020 but was held on to for two years to make sure it had the biggest possible audience. A decision I don’t think anyone involved regretted. 

Allow me to take you on a field trip to the year 2002. May 5, 2002 to be exact. That was the day Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man broke records by becoming the first film to ever gross over $100 million in a single weekend at the domestic box office with $114,844,116. It was one of the biggest stories in the history of movies and even used as a plot point in an episode of Entourage. Cut to 21 years later, and we are on the eve of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 which is as of right now expected to do about $120 million for the weekend, and that is actually looked at as a bit of an underwhelming opening! I guess when you consider last years Marvel Summer Kick Off was the also Sam Raimi directed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that launched with $187.4 million, that $120 million does seem a bit soft.

Super Mario Bros Movie, box office

Perhaps the reason Guardians is looking at a softer opening is due to its competition. When Multiverse of Madness opened last year it faced basically no competition. It was going up against the highest grossing video game movie of all time, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, that was showing signs of slowing down after being in theaters for a month. This year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is also going up against the highest grossing video game movie of all time, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but despite being in theaters for a month, this one doesn’t seem to be showing the same slow down that Sonic 2 did. With week after week of small percentage drops, Mario is basically printing its own cash by now. Earlier this week it officially became the first film of 2023 to pass the Billion dollar mark. But this is the first week Mario will be truly tested, and with that I think an over 40% decline is in store, putting the juggernaut at around $24 million in its fifth weekend.

Super Mario Bros., Chris Pratt

The good news for Guardians 3 is that reviews have been pretty solid, including an 8/10 from our own Chris Bumbray. Many reviews have said this feels like a bit of course correction for the MCU as the last few films have been a bit… blah. The first film, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy came out the gate strong with $94.3 million, especially when you consider the film was based on characters Joe Blow (or Joblo) movie goer was not familiar with and it starred the seventh billed actor from Parks and Recreation. But critics and fans alike loved the more comedic super hero mash-up which helped 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 open with $146.5 million, so a $120 million opening for the final chapter in the adventures of Star Lord and company is kind of a step back, but it is to be expected after audiences felt burned by not just the last few MCU films but the last few years of super hero movies in general. 

Of course anything is possible and perhaps these early estimates are way out of wack. We could be looking at a Super Mario Bros. Movie type weekend where the early estimates had the film at $80 million and by Sunday, that opening had ballooned to $146.3 million. Of course that movie had just a 92 minute run time while Guardians 3 is clocking in at 150 minutes. Wherever the numbers end up, it is all gravy for Chris Pratt as he will be the lead star of the top two movies this weekend.

Sony 2023 Film Schedule

There actually is another film opening this weekend, a bit of counter programming to the big action comic book film: Love Again is looking to grab the audience that says “I don’t care about comic book movies, but if I see Guardians with you, you have to see Love Again with me!” The film is a romantic dramedy starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan and of course Celine Dion and is about a woman mourning the death of her husband by sending romantic texts to her late husband’s cell phone and then falling in love with the guy who has been given her late husband’s number, that same old story we have seen a million times! With no reviews yet, I can’t really gauge how well this will do at the box office, but whenever a film has a review embargo on their film that isn’t lifted before the film releases, that is never a good sign. If this one shoots above $3 million, I’d be shocked. 

Evil Dead Rise, What Did You Think

The remainder of the box office will be your hold overs with Evil Dead Rise looking to continue its strong performance with an additional $7 million while John Wick: Chapter 4 continues its impressive run and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret tries to scrape together as much money as it can in the wake of its surprisingly weak showing at the box office. With a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 94% audience score, I have a feeling this will be a film many discover on home video and fall in love with.

Are you excited about the start of the summer movie season? Let us know in the comments what you plan on seeing this weekend and don’t forget to check out our poll from last week where we ask what summer movie release you are most looking forward to. Check back with us on Saturday when we have a brief update on which way the box office numbers are heading.


  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 $120 Million
  2. The Super Mario Bros. Movie$24 Million
  3. Evil Dead Rise$ 6 Million
  4. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret$4 Million
  5. John Wick: Chapter 4$3 Million

About the Author

318 Articles Published

Brad grew up loving movies and wanting to work in the industry. Graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 before moving to Los Angeles where I was fortunate enough to join SAG-Aftra in 2012. I love every second I get to write about movies for Joblo!