Aside from a few exceptions (Guardians being one of them), Disney has not had the best 2023 at the box office.
The studio's box office missteps, along with rampant overspending as of late, have caused Disney to reevaluate how it does business both at the movie theater and on streaming, focusing more on quality over quantity going forward.
Disney Celebrates Guardians 3's Success
Disney CEO Bob Iger spotlighted Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's box office performance as a part of the Q3 2023 Disney shareholder's call.
The Disney executive reiterated that with some of the studio's recent whiffs at the ticket window, Disney is "focused on improving the quality and performance of the films coming up" (via Aaron Couch on X - formerly known as Twitter):
Describing (as transcribed by The Motley Fool) the "tremendous run over the last decade" Disney has had, Iger put into perspective some of the box office woes the studio suffered as of late:
“Regarding our studio performance, let’s put things in perspective a little bit. The studio has had a tremendous run over the last decade, perhaps the greatest run that any studio has ever had with multiple billion-dollar hits and -- including, by the way, too, that were relatively recent, were one, in particular, 'Avatar: The Way of Water.'
He continued, praising Guardians 3's box office run and calling its performance "pretty strong" as the movie earned more than $850 million globally:
"And we also had a pretty strong performance with 'Guardians of the Galaxy 3', which has done, I think, approximately $850 million in global box office. That said, the performance of some of our recent films has definitely been disappointing, and we don’t take that lightly.”
Taking a look at this rough $850 million figure (which turns into about $595 million after the theaters took home their take), one can assume Disney had a fairly sizable payday thanks to James Gunn's space-faring threequel.
Comparing Vol. 3's performance to the varying degrees of success and profit from recent Marvel Studios sequels like Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (as previously reported by Deadline), it's expected that Guardians 3 will make the studio at least $150 million in profit when accounting for all revenues and expenses.
Can Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Be Considered a Success?
Yes, Bob Iger took the time to call out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in front of all of Disney's shareholders, but some may still wonder just how big a success the film can be considered.
To put it into perspective, the Guardians franchise has never been the billion-dollar name that some of the other MCU fare has become.
Both those other Guardians movies would widely be considered resounding successes for Marvel Studios and Disney. While Vol. 3 didn't top the heights of Guardians 2 financially, it did get really close.
Considering Guardians 3 managed to hit the box office highs it did in a theatrical environment where - post-COVID - it has been a struggle for studios to entice audiences to hand over their hard-earned dollars, it should be even more celebrated what Vol. 3 did releasing under the circumstances it did.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is available to stream now on Disney+.