After Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 dominated last weekend by selling 85 percent of all tickets, this was supposed to be the summer’s first competitive weekend at the box office with Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Amy Schumer’s Snatched taking on the second weekend of Guardians.
It wasn’t even close.
Guardians Vol. 2 dropped almost 60 percent in its second weekend, and still nearly quadrupled its closest competition, pulling in $62 million at the weekend box office, to bring its domestic total to $245 million, while its worldwide total is expected to be more than $600 million by the end of the weekend. It has an outside shot now of joining the $1 billion club. Marvel has now dominated not just the first weekend of May nine out of the last 11 years, but the second weekend, as well.
Typically, studios attempt to counter-program against Marvel in that second weekend (with movies like Hot Pursuit, George Clooney’s Money Madness, or even The Great Gatsby). Sometimes, however, studios use that slot to dump their big budget offerings. Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, for instance, was pummeled by the second weekend of Marvel’s The Avengers back in 2012. The completely forgotten Priest met the same fate in 2011 against Thor, and Robin Hood got demolished by Iron Man 2 in 2010. Head-to-head against Marvel’s second weekend never works, although counter-programming has had some success (see Bridesmaids vs. Thor in 2011).