While it is still another eight weeks until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 makes it to theaters, it is already time for analysts to start to predict what the box office will be like based on early tracking. These numbers are a bit speculative, but over the years studios have gotten better and better at determining likely sales from social media statistics, previous performance, and eventually pre-sales. The first of these numbers suggest that James Gunn‘s second spin through the MCU cosmos is shaping up to take in around $160 million in the first weekend in North American theaters.

As always, some context helps absorb exactly what that means. First of all, it’d be just shy of doubling the opening weekend of the first installment, back in August of 2014, one of the most shocking openings in the last decade. That return would also fall only behind the two Avengers films and the two trilogy cappers (Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War), meaning it’d be the best non-Robert Downey Jr. opening weekend for the MCU. This is quite simply a new level of fiscal dominance for an MCU film which is the second in a non-Avengers series. It’s also worth noting that these projections can often lowball the final result, though this is far more common and significant with a new property than with a sequel.

While figuring out the multiplier for the film over the long run is hard, the current estimate is $400 million domestically. (This is exactly the number we predicted back at the New Year if anyone is keeping score.) Assuming a similar domestic/international split to the last film (40/60) we’re looking at another billion dollar Marvel movie. One of the big questions for this year will be how Vol. 2 performs compared to Spider-Man: Homecoming. The good will from the last Guardians film certainly outstrips the positivity from previous Spidey films. Without a doubt, things are all set for both films to smash MCU records for a second and first installment, respectively.

What do you think of these projections? Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 make that jump to a billion dollars? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: BoxOfficePro