Eyes Turn to 'Captain Marvel' to Give the 2019 Box Office a Boost
by Brad Brevet
March 7, 2019
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Disney's release of Marvel Studios's Captain Marvel delivered an estimated $61.3 million on Friday, including $20.7 million from Thursday night previews. The performance is $5.2 million higher than the opening day for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which went on to open with $146.5 million and current industry expectations have Captain Marvel finishing the three-day anywhere from $145-155+ million. The film received an "A" CinemaScore.
Internationally, the film currently stands at an estimated $127 million through Friday. Included in that is an estimated $34.3 million opening day in China, which ranks as the second highest MCU opening day in the market ever behind only Avengers: Infinity War. Elsewhere, South Korea is the second highest grossing market so far with $9.3 million followed by Indonesia ($6.4m), Brazil ($5.4m), Russia ($5.4m), UK ($5.3m), Australia ($4.5m), France ($4.3m), Mexico ($4.1m), Thailand ($3.7m) and Germany ($3.4m).
You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Marvel Studios's Captain Marvel delivered a healthy $20.7 million from Thursday evening previews last night, ranking as the fifth largest preview gross for an MCU title. On average, preview grosses account for 30% of the opening day for a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which would suggest Captain Marvel is headed toward a $70 million opening day while the last three films in the MCU saw preview grosses account for, on average, 35% of the opening day, which would suggest something close to a $60 million opening day. Should the film hold to those averages we'd be looking at a three-day debut ranging from $135-$175+ million based on past performances.
Internationally, Captain Marvel began playing two days ago and has already brought in $44 million, which does not include China where the film debuted today with early estimates suggesting an opening day of around $34 million, which would be the second highest MCU opening day there behind only Avengers: Infinity War.
Korea currently leads the way internationally where the film has already brought in nearly $6 million followed by Indonesia ($4.8m), Brazil ($3.0m), France ($2.9m), Australia ($2.5m), Russia ($2.1m), Thailand ($1.9m), Taiwan ($1.8m), Malaysia ($1.7m), Philippines ($1.7m), Hong Kong ($1.5m), Germany ($1.5m) and Italy ($1.5m).
We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: You can almost hear a collective sigh of relief mixed with anticipation as this weekend's release of Disney and Marvel's Captain Marvel should deliver a much-needed jolt to the domestic box office, which is down 27% compared to last year. In fact, while Captain Marvel will deliver the first $100+ million debut of 2019 the film will most likely outperform all previous weekends so far this year all on its own, needing $139 million to do so.
Captain Marvel is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first to center on a female superhero with Brie Larson starring in the title role. The film will launch in a March record, 4,310 theaters — 3,000+ 3D locations, 400+ IMAX screens, 750+ Premium Large Format screens and 250 D-Box/4D locations — with previews beginning at 6PM on Thursday night. Disney is anticipating a debut around $125+ million, though tracking has been pushing higher all week and we're expecting something a bit higher as well.
Comps begin with previous March releases including Disney's Beauty and the Beast ($174.75m opening), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166m opening) and The Hunger Games ($152.5m opening), all of which suggest a very real likelihood Captain Marvel tops $150 million this weekend. Adding fuel to the "must see" fire is fan speculation that Captain Marvel's role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame will be considerable thanks to the end credits scene in Avengers: Infinity War, suggesting audience familiarize themselves with the character before the final chapter in this wave of Avengers films arrives on April 26.
Additionally, Fandango.com reports Captain Marvel is currently the online ticket retailer's biggest advance ticket seller since Avengers: Infinity War at the same point in the sales cycle. Added to that, it is also outpacing Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at the same point in the sales cycle.
All that being said, it will be key for Captain Marvel to bring in female audiences the same way Wonder Woman did compared to other films in the DC Extended Universe. Wonder Woman opened to a crowd that was 52% female while other films in the DCEU tend to play to audiences that are, on average, 43% female. The same goes for Marvel films with the likes of Thor: Ragnarok playing to an audience that was 44% female, as did both Guardians of the Galaxy films while Black Panther's opening weekend audience was 45% female, Avengers: Infinity War was 42% and even Ant-Man and the Wasp was 45%.
In the end, we're going with what feels like a relatively safe forecast, anticipating a performance around $155 million. However, as the theater count has escalated we can't help but begin to think a performance that reaches has high as $170 million or perhaps even threatens Beauty and the Beast's $174.7 million, record March opening is a possibility.
Internationally, Captain Marvel will debut day and date in all major markets with the lone exception being Japan, which will open on 3/15. As of publication, the film has already opened in France, Italy, Korea and several others with Russia, Australia, Germany, Brazil launching today and China, United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico and more join North America in a Friday, March 8 launch.
Elsewhere, look for Universal and DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World to finish in second place this weekend. We anticipate a drop around -44% and a $16-17 million three day, pushing the film's domestic cume over $120 million as it enters its third week in release.
Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral should follow in third, dipping around -58% or so for a $11+ million three-day for a domestic cume right around $45 million by end of day Sunday.
Fox's release of Alita: Battle Angel is looking at a three day right around $4 million as its domestic cume is looking to finish just shy of $80 million by the end of the weekend.
Fifth place is a bit of a toss up right now, though we're giving a slight edge to WB's The LEGO Movie 2, anticipating a weekend performance around $3.6 million as the film continues to make its way to $100 million domestically. However, Universal's Best Picture Oscar winner Green Book could secure the spot if it can hold on better than a -30% dip, which would currently give it a weekend around $3.2 million for a domestic cume topping $80 million after it recently topped $200 million worldwide.
Rounding out the top ten we're going with Neon's expansion of their documentary Apollo 11, which delivered a healthy $1.6 million last weekend from 120 IMAX locations and will expand to 405 total theaters this weekend. Right now we're looking for the film to perform somewhere around $1.3 million for the weekend, which very well could be enough for a top ten finish.
In limited release, A24 will debut Gloria Bell in five theaters; Greenwich will release Ferrante Fever; and Lionsgate will debut Vincent D'Onofrio's western The Kid in 268 theaters.
This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.
- Captain Marvel (4,310 theaters) - $155.0 M
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (4,037 theaters) - $16.8 M
- Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral (2,442 theaters) - $11.4 M
- Alita: Battle Angel (2,374 theaters) - $3.9 M
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2,930 theaters) - $3.6 M
- Green Book (2,094 theaters) - $3.2 M
- Fighting with My Family (2,455 theaters) - $3.0 M
- Greta (2,417 theaters) - $2.3 M
- Isn't It Romantic (2,223 theaters) - $2.0 M
- Apollo 11 (405 theaters) - $1.3 M
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