Bradley Cooper

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ blasts off with $145M opening

FILE - This image released by Disney-Marvel shows Zoe Saldana, from left, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, in a scene from,
FILE – This image released by Disney-Marvel shows Zoe Saldana, from left, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, in a scene from, “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.” Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has rocketed to a $17 million opening night, beating out early showings of the first film. Disney reported the sales estimate for Thursday night, May 4, 2017, preview screenings on Friday morning. The sequels Thursday night earnings are the biggest of the year so far. (Disney-Marvel via AP)

NEW YORK – “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” rocketed to an estimated $145 million debut in North America, kicking off Hollywood’s summer movie season with something the movie business has been craving: a sequel more successful than the original.

Director James Gunn’s second “Guardians” film opened 54 percent higher than the 2014 runaway hit, according to studio estimates Sunday.

That release, which introduced the intergalactic band of misfits played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, debuted with $94 million in its first weekend.

Once a little-known, oddball property in Marvel’s vault, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” have grown into one of the comic-book factory’s biggest brands.

The Walt Disney Co. validated the rise of “Guardians,” too, by moving it from August (when the original opened) to the first weekend in May. Marvel has used the same weekend to effectively launch the summer season for the last decade.

The opening for “Guardians Vol. 2,” made for about $200 million, is the second largest of the year, following Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” ($174.8 million). But it also turns back the tide of underperforming sequels, a developing scourge to Hollywood. Last summer saw a litany of sequels that failed to live up to earlier installments.

“We spent a lot of time looking at sequels and the idea of sequel-itis,” said David Hollis, distribution chief for Disney. “Really, poor quality films have been the thing that has, more than anything, been rejected by consumers over time. The ambition here was to make something that was unbelievably fresh…

Dave Chappelle Joining Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga in ‘A Star Is Born’ (Exclusive)

Getty Images Dave Chappelle

The comedian will play a character named Noodles in the Warner Bros. remake.

Dave Chappelle has joined Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in Warner Bros.’ remake of A Star is Born.

Cooper is not only starring opposite Lady Gaga but making his directorial debut with the film.

The film is based on the 1937 film starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. The story centers on a movie star who helps an aspiring young actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral. It was subsequently remade…

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Leading Powerful Social Media Buzz

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.

Disney-Marvel’s tentpole sequel “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” generated the most social media buzz last week, according to media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which opens May 5 in the U.S. amid massive expectations, generated more than 76,000 new conversations last week in the wake of its international release in 37 territories this past weekend. The movie took in more than $100 million from 37 markets, led by $15 million in the U.K.

The movie, which stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, has generated a total of 916,000 new conversations on social media. The original over-performed expectations in 2014 with more than $770 million in worldwide grosses. The sequel is expected take in as much as $150 million in the U.S. on opening weekend.

Fox’s spy comedy sequel “Kingsman: The Golden…