Feige Produces Another Winner in ‘Guardians Vol. 2’

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige produced the highly successful “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which made $146.5 million in its opening weekend.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige produced the highly successful “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which made $146.5 million in its opening weekend.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” kicked off the summer movie season with an impressive showing last weekend, topping the domestic box office with $146.5 million.
The sequel, written and directed by James Gunn, improved on its predecessor’s release in 2014 by 55% and is the second film to cross the $100 million mark on opening weekend this year.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was a risky venture for Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige three years ago, but audiences responded well to the obscure characters played by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. The original film opened with $94.3 million and went on to gross more than $333 million domestically.
“It’s always nerve wracking working on something years and years, and then unleashing on the world,” Feige told reporters at the world premiere of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” “But three years ago when we were here with the first ‘Guardians,’ we really didn’t know. Would people respond? Would people be into it? Now we know. We know they love the characters, we know they love the tone, and we hope very much they love this next version of the movie because we worked very hard.”
Feige, who has produced all 15 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, credits his director for the unprecedented success of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
“What James Gunn has done we think is very, very special,” he told reporters at the premiere. “It has been a long time. It’s been three solid years working on this. The cast has grown, the characters have grown, and I can’t wait for the world to see it.”
Of the 15 films in the MCU, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has the fifth greatest opening behind “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Iron Man 3.” The film reportedly received a perfect score of 100 from audiences in test screenings, which is higher than any other Marvel Studios production since 2008.
“We make these movies for fans to watch, for the moviegoers of the world to watch, and to hopefully have an amazing time,” Feige said at the red carpet premiere in Hollywood. “And we know we’ve succeeded when the movie ends and they want to go watch it again. And we’ve watched this movie many, many times, and we’re excited to go see it again.”
The film opened in several international markets earlier and is currently at a worldwide box office grace of $431.5 million in 13 days of release. Marvel Studios has passed the $11 billion mark in combined box office since starting the MCU with “Iron Man” in 2008.
Feige has been instrumental in every MCU film, all of which have debuted No. 1 on opening weekend. The longtime producer, who began as an associate producer on “Blade” and “X-Men,” is well-versed in comic books but doesn’t believe it to be a genre, and therein lies his unique approach to each film.
“I never believed in the superhero or comic book genre,” he told Deadline. “Genres are diverse with novels, and it’s the same thing when it comes to Marvel titles. It gets us excited. We don’t feel like we’ve made 15 comic book movies, but a fantasy epic (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), a political thriller (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and a heist film (“Ant-Man”).”
Regardless of genre, Marvel Studios films tend to have organic moments of levity not seen in other movies based on comic books, and laughter is key, according to Feige.
“When you sit and test these films … We do friends and family screenings where we show rough versions of our movies, which are horribly painful,” Feige told Deadline. “Imagine watching ‘Guardians’ without Rocket, Groot or any of the space ships. It’s a horrible thing to do. The one time you know it’s working is when the audience is laughing. That’s the only sign you get that they’re with you. Laughter is the way you hook the audience, then you can scare them or touch them emotionally deeper than they expected in a film about a tree and a raccoon.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is the first of three films produced by Feige to be released this year. The Marvel Studios President served as a co-producer on the highly-anticipated “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which is scheduled to hit theaters on July 7. Feige also has the 17th MCU feature, “Thor: Ragnarok,” coming out on Nov. 3.

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