James Gunn’s MCU threequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, came in even higher than Disney was anticipating. We had a sense it was $116M on Saturday night. The pic is now at $118.4M per Disney this morning after a $31.4M Sunday (yesterday was forecasted at $27M). That’s the 12th highest opening of all-time during the month of May, and $8M+ ahead of the projected $110M.
Disney accomplished this feat this AM off a global promotional partner campaign valued at $90M, ad sources tell us. I understand that amount is more than double the spend for the two previous Guardians of the Galaxy films combined.
In keeping with the theme of the film, multiple partners licensed popular songs from the 80s and 90s for inclusion in their co-branded spots to link to key themes (e.g., family, fun, comedy). Those partners included McDonald’s, King’s Hawaiian, General Mills, Enterprise, Microsoft, Realtor.com and Cisco.
McDonald’s debuted a Happy Meal program in the US, LATAM and China, coupled with eight toys of the film characters that link together. This was further supported with an UberEats US BOGO offer. To bring the film to life, a custom “in-world” TV spot set in “Knowhere” (the Guardians new home base) was revealed featuring a dance-off with Groot.
King’s Hawaiian bread co. kicked off grilling season with a custom spot about a family barbecue with some new guests including Rocket and Groot as well as a movie offer at 13K US national grocery/mass retailers.
NASCAR got in on the action too with a film-themed wrapped car driven by Brad Keselowski that debuted during the AdventHealth 400 NASCAR Cup Series race.
HelloFresh launched a new, limited edition Guardians Recipe Adventure series with six recipes inspired by the film along with Guardians Snack Adventure Kits so fans could create HelloFresh versions of two tasty intergalactic snacks – Zarg Nut Bites and Mango Milky Fizz, complete with collectible milk cartons and jars. In the custom spot we see what brought “aliens” to the office. Campaign was tied into a sweepstakes with No. 3 circuit Cinemark.
General Mills cereals had GOTG3 takeovers on boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Reese’s Puffs, Trix and Cookie Crisp, Groot-Gurt Go-Gurt and limited-edition cereal kits with film-themed pin sets available at Walmart starting.
Enterprise timed its campaign to the kickoff of summer travel season tied to the film’s theme of exploration with TV/digital and social support, a world premiere sponsorship and custom spot.
Microsoft, a longstanding MCU partner, leveraged its Zune MP3 film integration by paying homage to the original failed device and teaming up with Redwire to give it a second chance on board the International Space Station through 3D-printing technology. Microsoft launched an entire website dedicated to its gadget featuring a short ad with the Guardians which promoted education among students, creating different space-themed activities on the website for young explorers.
Realtor.com’s campaign was inspired by the intergalactic locations seen in the Guardians films and gave fans a chance to “own your place in space.” Fans were able to take a quiz to earn digital “units” to unlock coordinates for their very own piece of the galaxy, with locations spanning six intergalactic settings from the MCU including Knowhere, Morag and Sovereign.
There was also a team-up between Disney Marvel Studios and Cisco which centered around protection with the brand’s new multi-factor authentication security product. This included a spot that celebrated the parallels of the Guardians (a force for good throughout the galaxy) and Cisco Duo (a guardian for the good of businesses across the globe) along with a Fandango ticket offer for a chance to win passes to see the film.
In China, juggernauts Alipay and JD supported the pic with cinema advertising and tech companies Samsung, Netease and Razer contributed with out-door and digital/social. Other markets that participated included Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam with activations like special ticket offers, in-store POS, film-themed mall installations and gift with purchase.
In Brazil, Visa’s rewards program supported the threequel with cinema advertising and more. Kia held a sweepstakes in Mexico for a trip for four and Motorola had a gift with purchase. Virgin Plus was a partner in Canada.
Deadline was there at San Diego Comic-Con last July when Gunn first took the stage with the cast, showed off the first footage and the High Evolutionary crashed Hall H. That’s when the GOTG3 campaign officially launched.
At Brazil Comic Con in December, the teaser trailer debuted, which led to a simultaneous online debut along with the Teaser Poster. The trailer debut was in the upper comps generating 121M views in 24-hrs, and the trailer trended on Twitter and rose to the #2 trend.
Among some of the broadcast stunts to push the pic, SportsCenter anchors, Jason Fitz and Arda Ocal, became swole like Groot in a custom content piece featuring the pic’s star Chris Pratt. On Adult Swim, a “Grootologist” broke down the meaning of “I am Groot” in custom content. At ABC, three was an in-episode story moments featuring film mentions with surrounding special looks for both the Rookie and The Conners. On Freeform, the cast fielded fans’ burning questions while on Univision, during the Santos Laguna vs Cruz Azul game, there was an in-Game feature with Zoe Saldana and Pratt.
On April 1, a new TV spot debuted in the NCAA Final 4 game, announcing that tickets were going on sale on April 3. In support of the tickets on sale messaging, the day was filled with new content and art including a Fandango Cast Roundtable with Pratt, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn and Gunn; exclusive partner one sheets (IMAX, Dolby, RealD, ScreenX, 4DX, and Fandango). Gunn also announced on social the soundtrack and tracklist poster.
GOTG3‘s music campaign was the largest in the franchise and featured music from several decades in trailers, television spots, and digital activations. The 17-track soundtrack album was released on vinyl, CD, and collectible cassettes featuring nine unique character designs. The campaign included promotions such as the Target Media Wall at over 1,800 locations, TV spots, online ads, and outdoor in NYC Time Square. Additionally, a special fan event at Amoeba Music featured a live performance by Royston Langdon of Spacehog.
One big music-related highlight: The “Knowhere Depot” Coachella activation which tapped into the festival’s zeitgeist as attendees were encouraged to stop at the pop-up during their drive. Billboards along the freeway gave the location, and the Knowhere Depot offered photo opportunities and free swag for festival goers. K-GOTG radio was also launched as the official Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Spotify radio program.