Initial test screenings of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit a perfect, extremely rare 100 percent ratings, making it the highest in Marvel history. The numbers trump even those of the very popular superhero movies like Iron Man 3 and The Avengers which both reached impressive high 90's.
The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story, cautions the reader, though, in assuming that solid test rating numbers automatically translate into box-office bonanza. Historicals show that commercial hits like Pretty Woman and The Black Swan only rated in the 70's and 50's respectively in test screenings before they were released in the theaters.
The caution, though well-founded, may not be applicable to James Gunn's film of a ragtag team of space misfits who become reluctant heroes. The first Guardians flick was a critical and commercial success. Buzz surrounding the trailers of Vol. 2 has been overwhelmingly positive. Now, with these test ratings results, it's hard not to conclude that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 cannot be anything else but a spectacular, runaway hit.
What makes these test results more impressive is that they climbed higher than those of movies of teams like the Avengers which have a longer history, greater visibility, and a more solid fan base. Maybe it's about time the studios take a page out of the Guardians' book. What caused this unprecedented audience enthusiasm: the relationships of the offbeat characters with one another, the deft balance of action and humor, the irreverent tone, the space setting, a lovable talking raccoon?
Some film directors have warned that the popularity of superhero films will soon reach saturation and wane. The Guardians of the Galaxy's chart-busting popularity may just have the formula that can stall, if not reverse, that prediction---and ensure that superhero films will live forever.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will open in theaters on May 5, 2017. Watch the trailer below to see what the shouting is all about.