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Captain Marvel Blows Up Box Office. How Does It Compare To Other Marvel Hits?

Actor Brie Larson attends the Los Angeles World Premiere of Marvel Studios' 'Captain Marvel' at Dolby Theatre on March 4, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney
 

While audiences appear to be generally disappointed and the mostly good reviews are still mediocre, Marvel's "big feminist movie" is crushing it at the box office, raking in an estimated $153 million in just three days. So how does Brie Larson's superhero debut compare to other Marvel smash hits?

 

First, the numbers for "Captain Marvel" according to Box Office Mojo: On Friday, the film took in $61.4 million from 4,310 theaters, averaging $14,242 per theater; on Saturday, it earned another $53 million ($12,306 per theater); and on Sunday it grabbed another $38.6 million (8,952 per theater). That adds up to exactly $153 million in estimated box office receipts.

So how does that strong opening weekend measure up to other Marvel hits' first three days in theaters? In its total opening weekend earnings, "Captain Marvel" ranks 7th among all Marvel films. Here's the top ten's opening weekend numbers in millions (and what the films went on to earn):

  1. "Avengers: Infinity War" - $257.7 (total $678.8)
  2. "Marvel's The Avengers" - $207.4 (total $623.4)
  3. "Black Panther" - $202 (total $700.1)
  4. "Avengers: Age of Ultron" - $191.3 (total $459)
  5. "Captain America: Civil War" - $179.1 (total $408.1)
  6. "Iron Man 3" - $174.1 (total $409)
  7. "Captain Marvel" - $153
  8. "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2" - $146.5 (total $389.8)
  9. "Iron Man 2" - $128.1 (total $312.4)
  10. "Thor: Ragnorak" - $122.7 (total $315.1)

If the opening weekends of Marvel's films are any indication, we might anticipate that "Captain Marvel" will go on to earn around $400 million, which is the low-end for comparable opening weekend total box office numbers.

 

Box Office Mojo lists the following films as having comparable opening weekend numbers to Marvel's latest installment: "Rogue One" ($155.1 million), "The Dark Knight" ($158.4 million), "Catching Fire" ($158.1 million), and "The Hunger Games" ($152.5 million). Those films went on to earn $532.2, $533.3, $424.7, and $408 million, respectively. Thus, according to the track record of previous films earning between $150 and $160 million in their opening weekends, "Captain Marvel" appears likely to gross somewhere between $400 and $535 million domestically.

Along with its female lead, one other big detail sets "Captain Marvel" apart from the rest of the Marvel movies: It is the only one to open in March. Nine of Marvel's 21 films opened in late April or early May. A total of 15 opened between late April and August, while three of the remaining six debuted in November. Marvel's decision to open "Black Panther" in February, when there was little competition, ended up paying off big time (it went on to gross more than any other Marvel film: $700.1 million). It remains to be seen if the pre-blockbuster season opening of "Captain Marvel" will likewise help its numbers.

 

The debut of "Captain Marvel" was surrounded by a lot of buzz, in part prompted by Larson's decision to deliberately frame the film as a "big feminist movie" and insert identity politics into the promotion of the film. After she told interviewers in February that she was taking steps to make sure that the film's press junket wasn't "overwhelmingly white male," backlash against the film began to build online, eventually reaching a point where Rotten Tomatoes felt compelled to make some big changes in how it handled user comments and scores prior to a film's release.

Related: UPDATE: How’s Captain Marvel’s Audience Score Since Rotten Tomatoes Purged ‘Troll’ Reviews?

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