‘Captain Marvel’ Zaps the Box Office Right Between the Eyes

Just like a superhero swinging in to save the day in a comic book, the new Disney/Marvel action flick Captain Marvel arrived in theaters worldwide this weekend to give the dismal 2019 box office a desperately needed jolt of financial life.

The long-awaited arrival of Marvel helped propel the top ten to an estimated $208.6 million. That amount represents a 79% surge in business from one week ago and a healthy 48% jump over last year’s figures. However, even with Marvel’s opening the 2019 box office continues to lag a steep 21% in comparison to 2018.

The 21st feature from the indestructible Marvel Studios -and the first to feature a female hero in the lead-, Captain Marvel arrived Thursday night on 4,310 North America screens where it scored a marvelous $153 million. The $152 million production was co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) and stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn and Annette Bening.

Captain Marvel’s domestic debut was the third biggest ever for the month of March following Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ($174 million) and Warner’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million). Captain’s debut was also the seventh-biggest opening ever for a Marvel Studios film, right between Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two’s $146 million and Iron Man 3’s $174 million.

The daily box office breakdown for Marvel was $20.7 million from Thursday night previews, $40.6 million on Friday, $53 million on Saturday and an estimated $38.5 million for Sunday.

Reviews for the latest Marvel Studios’ license to print money were largely positive, even if the praise was somewhat on the reserved side. Captain Marvel scored a 79% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 65/100 on Metacritic.

On the international front, Captain Marvel debuted with a massive $302 million. The top five markets for the film were China ($89 million), South Korea ($24 million), the United Kingdom ($17 million), Brazil ($13 million) and Mexico ($13 million). A global start of $455 million leaves little doubt that Captain Marvel will become the latest billion-dollar winner for both Disney and Marvel Studios.

With Carol Danvers and Goose the Cat arriving on the movie scene, business for the remainder of the top ten was scant at best. Dropping 51% to land in second place was the Universal/Dreamworks cartoon How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World with $14.7 million from 4,042 theaters. The acclaimed animated feature has earned $119.6 million so far with a final near $145 million a possibility.  Overseas, The Hidden World has flown to $315 million so far.

In third place was Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral. The comedy raised an estimated $12 million –down 55% from last week- from 2,442 screens. Madea‘s ten-day total now stands at a lively $46 million.

Warner’s The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part assembled $3.8 million worth of business from 2,930 screens in fourth place. Down 42%, LEGO 2 has earned $97 million domestically and an additional $67 million internationally.

Fox’s pricey misfire Alita: Battle Angel rounded out the top five with an estimated $3.2 million from 2,374 screens. Down 55% in its fourth week, Alita has scraped together a weak $78 million and should finish with roughly $85 million -or half of its $170 million production budget- in North America. Alita has earned $304 million overseas.

  1. Green Book (Universal) $2.5 million (-46%); $80 million
  2. Isn’t It Romantic (Warner/New Line) $2.4 million (-47%); $44 million
  3. Fighting With My Family (MGM) $2.1 million (-53%); $18.7 million
  4. Greta (Focus) $2.1 million (-52%); $8.2 million
  5. Apollo 11 (Neon) $1.3 million (-19%); $3.8 million

Next weekend, Captive State, Five Feet Apart and the animated feature Wonder Park arrive on the scene. Captain Marvel will experience the typical second weekend drop between 50-60%, but it should earn more than enough to remain in first place by a wide margin.

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