Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy has stunned the box office with an enormous opening-weekend haul.

James Gunn's sci-fi adventure was thought to have been a major risk for Marvel but after taking $160.4 (£95m) worldwide, $94m (£56m) of which came from the US, the film has become a huge success, doing better business than last year's Thor sequel.

Guardians also blew the previous August US box office record apart, dwarfing The Bourne Ultimatum's 2007 opening weekend total of $69.3m (£41m).

To celebrate this news, Gunn posted a heartfelt message on Facebook in which he revealed he has been hard at work on the film's sequel, which is set for 2017.

"The Guardians are a group of oddballs, outcasts, and geeks," he wrote. "The movie is for anyone who ever felt cast aside, left out, or different. It's for all of us who don't belong. This movie belongs to you. And, today, I think we're doing okay.

"You may remember me posting here a couple weeks ago how sad I was to be finishing up the film, that I was having trouble letting go of Rocket [Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper], and that I was going to miss him.

"But seeing him (and Groot [voiced by Vin Diesel], and the rest of the team) embraced by the world like they have been, to be UNDERSTOOD, makes it a wonderful letting go. It's like giving a foster pet up for adoption to the most wonderful parents in the world."

Gunn then moved on to his early work on the sequel.

"Of course, I'm not really saying goodbye as, while many of you have been enjoying the film, I've spent this weekend hard at work on the sequel. I couldn't help myself!

"The results are nice but it's really the creative process I love and that keeps me going. I'm on fire with this thing! The Guardians have so many hardships and heartaches and triumphs ahead of them, and I can't wait to share them with all of you."

Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Cooper and Diesel, and is in cinemas now. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be released on 28 July 2017.