When is Guardians of the Galaxy 3 coming to Disney Plus?

Star-Lord looks at someone off camera in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is joining Disney Plus' film library in August. (Image credit: Marvel)

When will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 land on Disney Plus? That's a question we suspect you've asked yourself since the Marvel movie arrived in theaters in May.

At last, we have an answer to that pressing question: Wednesday, August 2. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 only launched in theaters on May 3, so we expected the latest Marvel film to take its time in joining Disney Plus' back catalog. 

That's proven to be the case, with the superhero flick not making the hyperjump to Disney's primary streamer. Guardians 3 has been available to stream on other services in a rent and/or buy capacity, but not on Disney Plus. Now, though, Disney Plus subscribers can soon watch the Marvel Phase 5 on the platform at no extra cost. Just make sure you have a box of tissues ready when you settle in to watch the MCU movie, as this one is a real tearjerker. 

When will Guardians 3 be released on Disney Plus?

The Guardians walk towards the camera amid a scene of destruction in Guardians of the Galaxy 3

I am Groot? (Translation: when is Guardians 3 debuting on Disney Plus?) (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's Disney Plus release date was confirmed on Tuesday, July 18. The superhero movie will make its proper streaming debut on Wednesday, August 2, almost exactly three months after its original theatrical release.

After a few box office duds – Ant-Man 3 and Thor: Love and Thunder, we're looking at you – in the past year, Marvel needed a big theatrical win. Luckily for the studio, Guardians 3 provided the goods, with James Gunn's final MCU film earning $844 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo).

Why was Guardians 3's performance in theaters important? Given it continued to sell tickets, Marvel wasn't in a rush to remove it from theaters and release it on Disney's main streaming service. Why release it for free (to Disney Plus subscribers, that is) if it continued to make cash across the globe?

Recently, Guardians 3 has had a bunch of highly anticipated new movies to contend with, though. Mission Impossible 7, Oppenheimer, and Barbie have all been released in July, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. With cinemagoers likely to watch one of these movies instead in the coming weeks, Guardians 3's theatrical lifecycle has come to an end, hence its forthcoming launch on Disney Plus.

Editor's note: the rest of this article looks at TechRadar's prediction for Guardians 3's Disney Plus launch, so you'll find no new information past this point.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 on Disney Plus: our prediction

A forlorn Rocket looks at someone off screen in Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Pete, I'm done running... to Disney Plus to see the latest MCU film! (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

So, when could Guardians of the Galaxy 3 descend on Disney Plus? As we said in our original introduction, we think it'll be August.

Marvel films used to have a 45-day exclusivity period in theaters before they dropped on Disney's main streamer. However, the last two MCU movies – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man 3 – didn't debut on the platform until three months after their theatrical debuts. If this 90-day exclusivity period is the new time frame between a Marvel movie launching in theaters and them coming on Disney Plus, Guardians 3 wouldn't land on one of the world's best streaming services until early August at the very earliest.

The only thing that might change that is the writers' strike, which is (at the time of writing) dominating the entertainment industry news cycle. 

For those unfamiliar with the industrial action: members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are striking over pay and job security issues, meaning no new TV shows or movies are being written for TV networks or streaming platforms. You can read more about what's going on in our article about Netflix users cancelling their subscriptions amid the growing writers' strike feud.

With Secret Invasion now on Disney Plus (read our Secret Invasion review while you're here), and Loki season 2 and Echo set to arrive before the end of 2023, Marvel won't be immediately impacted by the strike action. However, if Disney and its subsidiaries (including Marvel Studios) start to run out of new content for Disney's streaming services, including Disney Plus and Hulu, they could decide to release Guardians of the Galaxy 3 earlier than expected. That might mean the latest entry in our best Marvel movies guide releases in July, which we wouldn't complain about.

The only potential spanner in the works about a July launch is the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is coming to digital storefronts during that month. The movie will land on Apple TV, YouTube, the Amazon store, and other rent/buy platforms on July 7. If Marvel wants to make a quick buck from those services before it releases the film on Disney Plus, we won't see Guardians 3 join the streamer's movie library next month.

For more MCU-based coverage, find out how to watch the Marvel movies in order, learn where Guardians 3 placed on our best Marvel movies list, and see which Marvel films made it onto our best superhero movies list.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.