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LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has rocketed to a $17 million opening night, beating out early showings of the first film.

Courtesy Disney

Disney reported the sales estimate for Thursday night preview screenings on Friday. The sequel is the biggest opening night earner of the year so far.

The first “Guardians” film was a surprise blockbuster for many, transforming a little-known band of Marvel superheroes into household names. It earned $11.2 million on its opening night.

Both films were directed by James Gunn, who has already signed on to direct a third “Guardians” film. Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana star in the franchise, which will become interwoven into Marvel’s hit “Avengers” franchise in future films.

ComScore figures show the first “Guardians” film earned $93.3 million in its opening weekend.

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