Summer starts on Thursday night at 7 PM with Disney’s Captain America: Civil War set to send seismic waves through the box office. This is a Marvel superhero clash that fanboys and crowds have been waiting for, and unlike Warner Bros.’ Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Disney already has critics and audiences on their side.
The Rotten Tomatoes score off 115 reviews for Captain America: Civil War is at 94% fresh, which is higher than both 2012’s Avengers (92%) and last May’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron (75%). Pair this with the buzz emanating out of Disney’s hugely successful CinemaCon screening and industry estimates have Civil War conquering No. 1 between $190M-$200M at 4,200-plus theaters. Given how non-exact tracking is in predicting these big openings, should Civil War‘s dust settle at $175M, the Mouse House will be very happy.
Among the top three superhero debuts at the domestic box office, Disney/Marvel owns all of ’em with Avengers ($207.4M, A+ CinemaScore), Ultron ($191.3M, A CinemaScore) and 2013’s Iron Man 3 ($174.1M, A CinemaScore).
Already, Civil War has bagged $224.3M overseas with the Avengers movie invading China, Argentina, Italy and Russia this weekend. Here in the U.S. and Canada, Civil War will have something stronger than the vibranium steel alloy in Captain America’s shield: 3,300 of its venues will be in 3D, along with 378 Imax, 480 premium large-format and 161 D-Box locations. In addition some 20% of colleges are off Friday, a figure that will swell to 85% by the fourth frame of Civil War.
The Burbank-based studio is hoping for a Thursday night preview in the mid-$20M range for the Russo brothers-directed sequel. Among superhero titles, Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises holds the Thursday night record with $30.6M (but off of midnight shows), followed by Batman V. Superman ($27.7M) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($27.6M) which both started at 7 PM.
While Fandango reported last week that Civil War was besting the advance tickets sales of all previous Marvel movies, today the online movie ticket sales agent says Civil War is breaking the record for all superhero movies in the company’s 16-year history, including BvS. Currently Civil War reps 90% of its weekend tickets sale.
While these superhero movies are always top-heavy with males, the Marvel films with each release further broaden their demos, increasing their reach with women and families.
For many fanboys, Civil War is Avengers 3 with Captain America and Iron Man drawing lines in the sand over how the superhero team should exist going forward and whether governments have a say in its supervision. Tony Stark drags young Spider-Man into this fight. Adding that character into the Avengers fold is a big deal for Marvel fans and marks the partnership between Sony (which has dibs on Marvel’s Spider-Man property) and Disney/Marvel going forward on the next cinematic iteration of the character; his next movie being Spider-Man: Homecoming set for July 7, 2017.
Civil War is the only wide release this weekend. Among specialty fare from the studios, Fox Searchlight tomorrow is opening the Luca Guadagnino crime drama A Bigger Splash starring Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson at two New York City (Lincoln Square and the Angelika) locations and two Los Angeles theaters (Hollywood Arclight and Landmark on Pico Blvd.). Industry projections for the pic’s weekend theater averages lie between $25K-$30K.