When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
In a big year for superhero movies, none grossed higher than Captain America: Civil War, the Joe & Anthony Russo-directed film that not only managed to tell a coherent, crowd-pleasing story that crammed in a dozen Marvel superheroes but also became the first Captain America film to cross the billion-dollar worldwide gross mark. The film was a marvel in how it served the architecture of the entire Marvel Studios universe. Captain America: Civil War lay the plot groundwork for two sequels to its highest-grossing movie line, The Avengers, which the Russo siblings are directing back to back. In addition, the movie gave a strong launch to the first Spider-Man movie done under Marvel creative control, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film introduced Tom Holland as the young webslinger, and played up his relationship with Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, a plot line that continues in Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer. There was just as strong a launch pad rendered to Black Panther, with Chadwick Boseman playing the lead in a movie that Creed‘s Ryan Coogler is directing. Those are a lot of balls to keep in the air. How did the movie perform financially? Let’s take a look.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Captain America: Civil War‘s domestic box office performance was frontloaded, as the film grossed 40% on opening weekend in early May. But that gross was an outstanding $179 million. Fueled by strong word of mouth, the film grossed $408 million domestic, $554 million overseas and $190 million in China. Marvel went all in on this film, with a production budget of $250 million. All that star power — Downey, the anchor of the Marvel universe, gets paid, and so did others — puts the compensation line at the highest level we’ve seen so far. Our experts say that the Participations and Residuals and Off-the-Tops reached $122 million. That pulls down the net profit, but when you consider all the other things Marvel accomplished with this film — down to bolstering its nascent Ant-Man franchise play — the numbers are superheroic. Marvel’s Disney earned a net profit of $193 million, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.31.