Marvel’s Guardians’s Of The Galaxy hasn’t even been released yet but that hasn’t stopped a sequel being given the go ahead with sights on a July 28, 2017 release. This fills one of potentially three slots for 2017 that Marvel earmarked, this has caused speculation over how many movies Phase 3 will comprise of. The Avengers brought Phase 1 to a crowd-pleasing end and will do the same next year when the gang reassemble for Age of Ultron, presumably the third Avengers will close down Phase 3 in 2018 although that’s yet to be confirmed from Marvel.

James Gunn will return to write and direct the next adventure for the ragtag group of intergalactic  heroes with all the primary cast expected to reprise their roles. So far the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with many citing that it’s the most original and fun offering from Marvel since Iron Man. James Gunn’s movie is certainly the most stand alone in an interconnected cinematic universe, in addition to the characters being nowhere near as well known as the likes of Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man. Some might see this as a weakness, but this is actually a huge creative positive as it gives Marvel a chance to shake things up by launching a fresh franchise within its shared universe.

Early box office predictions has placed Guardians with an estimated opening weekend of $68-$72 million, roughly extrapolated this would equate to a total domestic haul somewhere in the bracket of $180-$190 million. Naturally this doesn’t take into account things like word of mouth or repeat viewings, should this early estimate be accurate that’s a solid start for the debut of a bunch of new characters. The worldwide box office will play a big part in how much of a hit Guardians turns out to be, all the post Avengers releases have managed huge international lifts so it will be interesting to see how a non Marvel sequel performs. 

On a side note, those same box office analysts predicted Luc Besson’s Lucy would open to $28 million, which turned out to be way off as the Scarlet Johansson starer surprised everybody last weekend running off with over $43 million. Lucy even bested Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules and claimed the number one spot by more than $14 million.

Guardians Of The Galaxy is released in the UK on July 31st and arrives in the US the next day on August 1st.