‘Captain Marvel’ Rises To $154M U.S. Opening; Experts Say Female Superhero Pic Will Pass Breakeven In Week’s Time
EARLY MONDAY AM UPDATE: Disney has yet to release its morning figures, but rivals are figuring that Captain Marvel came in with a $154 million opening after a $39M Sunday. Together with her overseas take of $302M –the fifth-best overseas debut of all time — global debut for the Disney pic stands at $456M. By the end of its first week (or less), film finance executives are saying that Captain Marvel will hit $750M global-plus (even if it’s front-loaded) and pass break-even in its theatrical cycle based off combined net production and global marketing costs of $300M.
The final domestic B.O. for Captain Marvel should be north of $400M. A $1 billion final WW isn’t out of the question.
SUNDAY AM WRITETHRU after Saturday PM update: Disney is calling the opening weekend of Captain Marvel at $153M, which is the third-best debut in March (after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at $174.7M and Warner’s Batman v. Superman at $166m), and the seventh-best stateside launch for an MCU title. Out of the top ten openings for March, Disney now owns half of them. Rivals still believe Captain Marvel is much higher, in the $155M-$157M range, so no surprise if she comes in higher.
We can finally say from a box office perspective, 2019 has officially begun. Disney has Dumbo opening at the end of the month and some box office analysts (not tracking) believe that Disney live-action pic has the potential to open to $75M. Total ticket sales for all films this weekend amounted to $208.6M per ComScore, +48% from the same frame last year, and +79% from last weekend. We still have a ways to go to best 2018’s record year, with tickets sale for 2019 still 21% behind the same Jan-March period of last year with $1.79B.
Captain Marvel‘s 3-day surpasses the opening weekends of the first two Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, the first two Captain America films, all three Thor films, Doctor Strange, both Ant-Man films, both Guardians of the Galaxy films, as well as all Spider-Man films, Venom, Suicide Squad, Man of Steel, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, both Deadpools and all X-Men films.
Captain Marvel‘s $455M global opening is $105M higher than where Nancy and I saw it, and just above the $150M domestic start we projected.
“Marvel Studios continues to have an incredible track record that remains unbroken. Audiences feel they know what they are getting when they buy their movie ticket,” said Cathleen Taff, Disney President of Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management and Business & Audience Insights about the unstoppable MCU momentum.
One rival studio executive recently praised the Marvel movies for their organic means of marketing, an attribute that few franchise films capitalize upon, specifically each end credits coda sells the next movie in a big way (obviously this has been going on for a while, but the point is, it’s a teasing device which still works), i.e. Infinity War hinted to Captain Marvel and she (as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp) hinted to Avengers: Endgame with a scene featuring some of the superheros who lived.
Carol Danvers’ Saturday grossed $53M, which, though 14% off from Friday, is technically up when you take out Thursday night previews out of Friday’s take. So, with Friday earning $41.3M, business was technically up 29% today for the Anna Boden-Ryan Fleck-directed superhero movie. But in like-for-like scenarios (where Thursday is part of Friday’s B.O.), Captain Marvel‘s Friday-to-Saturday percent ease is steeper than Wonder Woman (-8%), but significantly better than Batman v. Superman (-38%) and not that far from Black Panther (-13%). Imax drove $14.1M stateside from 411 runs, the large format’s second best March debut. With Captain Marvel, the MCU officially grosses $1 billion at the B.O. In Imax, it runs alone.
Captain Marvel played best on the coasts, but was huge all over. Read our previous update on how Captain Marvel was Teflon to the Internet trolls who griped about Brie Larson’s sincere call for diversity in critics, and how men are the leading demo for the female superhero female, which was not the case with Warner Bros./DC’s Wonder Woman. Disney reports that men turned out at 55% to females’ 45%, and that latter demo could well grow in next weekend’s exits. Disney did tee this off for female audiences with an opening release date on International Women’s Day. Much like Black Panther featured a diverse cast and crew on-screen and behind the scenes, such was the case with women on Captain Marvel. There were various tie-ins and support around Women’s Day: There was a Spotify album listening party with the pic’s composer Pinar Toprak, iHeart radio DJ support, debut of talent interviews with female ESPN host/commentators from the junket at Edwards Air Force Base, and special screenings at Disney, as well as a female panel on the Burbank lot hosted by Women@Disney—a Business Employee Resource Group at the studio —which featured some of the women of Marvel Studios who brought Captain Marvel to the screen.
Some of Disney’s key marketing highlights for Captain Marvel after its massive trailer launch on Good Morning America last September include a ticket sales stunt back on Jan. 7 tied into the Golden Globes and CFP College Football Championship Game (there was a BTS training featurette at halftime, a 90-sec exclusive look in 3rd quarter, commentator call-outs and custom takeovers on ESPN.com & SportsCenter), yielding the third-best first day advance ticket sales for a MCU pic on Fandango behind Infinity War and Black Panther.
Disney played toward cat lovers (much like Warners made a play for dog lovers on Meg) with a character poster for Goose the Cat, who co-stars in the movie. Goose starred in his own Facebook Live at the press junket and appeared in a livestream feature at the LA premiere, hosted an Instagram takeover for @DisneyPets, and did a 90-minute photo opp at the Tower pop-up (see below), where Twitter did a custom photo shoot for @TwitterMovies. He was also immortalized in a Funko POP and a Hasbro plush.
Disney also capitalized on positioning the film toward the military, with star Brie Larson giving shout-outs to those who mentored her on the film. Decorated Air Force personnel were in attendance at last Monday’s premiere, with an Air Force Thunderbird flyover above Hollywood Blvd.
The campaign also celebrated the pic’s 1990s backdrop with a Tower Records pop-up event, presented by KROQ and hosted by former MTV VJ “Downtown” Julie Brown, where the iconic record store was re-dressed in themed signage, album covers, and displays, with performances by Bush and L7 and a Twitter livestream cast Q&A.
Captain Marvel‘s promo partners included Hertz, Visible, WNBA, Alaska Airlines (including custom plane wrap), Synchrony Financial, Citizen Watch, Dave & Busters, Xbox, Aerie (American Eagle), and Wix.
Other highlights from the weekend:
–NEON’s Apollo 11 doc jumped into the top 10 as it segued from Imax hubs (pic had to give them up to Captain Marvel) to mainstream theaters with a $1.3M take, and running $3.7M total
–Universal/Dreamworks/Participant Media’s Oscar-winning Best Picture Green Book has crossed $80M, a $10.5M jump since Oscar Sunday two weeks ago.
–MGM’s Fighting With My Family at $18.7M had made more than the lifetime domestic run of Fox’s UK ski jumper pic Eddie the Eagle ($15.7M) as the pic hangs tough in weekend 4 at 2,455 locations.
–A24’s Julianne Moore female drama Gloria Bell, which the distributor acquired ahead of the pic’s TIFF premiere last year from FilmNation Entertainment, launched in five theaters with $154.7K and a $30.9K screen average. That’s the second-best opening average of the weekend behind Captain Marvel.
–A24’s horror bacchanal Climax huffed from five locations last weekend to 28 in weekend two for a $110,7K take and a 10-day of $280.6K.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR MARCH 8-10
SATURDAY AM WRITETHRU after Friday 9:30 PM UPDATE: With updated chart Don’t believe the trolls on Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score, or the zany, small white dude contingency misconstruing Brie Larson’s call for diversity in film critics for man-hating: There is absolutely no question, Disney’s Captain Marvel is a huge hit, with an industry estimated $62M Friday (including $20.7M Thursday previews) and an opening weekend between $157M-$160M, currently the third-best for the month of March after Beauty and the Beast ($174.7M) and Batman v. Superman ($166M). Captain Marvel is also the 7th best debut for a Disney MCU title.
No. 1 hit films at the box office are like political candidates: People show their favoritism by voting with their wallets, and the continual swell of Captain Marvel in its projections over the last month underscore its enormous want-to-see, going from $100M to $120M to $140M, and now this. A “busting-the-dam” effect is currently occurring in the marketplace: Moviegoers have been starving for a four-quad movie after a string of largely lackluster choices over the last two months, and that pent-up demand is translating into hard cash for Captain Marvel.
ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak shows that 23% of the audience bought their tickets more than a week ago, while Captain Marvel is drawing 55% in walk-up business. More than half of all moviegoers came to Captain Marvel because it’s part of a franchise they love.
#Fail for ultra right-wingers’ most recent bogus and short-sighted call for an #AlitaChallenge this weekend (the pic is -55% in weekend 4 with $3.2M in 5th place), which has nothing to do with their love for the James Cameron produced/Robert Rodriguez film, but rather their blase social media attempt to draw business away from Captain Marvel. Not only do they fail to recognize that Alita is a film about a lower-class uprising, sticking it to the man, but also any future money from the movie belongs to Disney. By the way, some of those raising ire over Captain Marvel are the same stone-throwers that got James Gunn fired off Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The masses clearly aren’t swayed by such ugly noise, and point in fact, most Marvel movies (Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther) have a political undertone, which is what makes them smart and great and enables the comic book studio to win over critics, in addition to delivering popcorn adrenaline.
Social Media pulse-meister RelishMix spots that most of the chatter on Captain Marvel leans positive. “Plenty of Marvel Fans are going to see the film this weekend, even if they count themselves frustrated with the tone of the movie, its spoilers for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame next month, or Larson’s political views and opinions. Some MCU Fans are chiming in on the joke about Larson’s comments related to the critical environment, asking with a laugh, ‘I”m a white dude who’s over 40 – am I still invited?’. For Fans of the MCU and comic book movies generally who have seen it, they enjoyed it. Convo for this film is reminiscent of the Thor sequels and Ant-Man and the Wasp, in that fans and casual moviegoers alike who have actually seen it convey a sentiment that suggests, ‘It’s not the best in the series – it’s surely no Panther – but it’s good.”
Even though Captain Marvel launched on International Women’s Day yesterday, she continues to remain male heavy, 61% to 39% on PostTrak. Females over 25 remain the third best draw at 22% behind M25+ (33%), and Men under 25 (25%). And at 4 stars, an ‘A’ CinemaScore, and an 86% from females and 80% from males, everyone is just charmed by Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers’ exits are quite different from that of DC’s first onscreen female superhero Wonder Woman : Female moviegoers led the way to that pic, outweighng men 55% to 45%. Females ages 25 and up (32%) were the leading demo, followed by men 25+ (29%) and women under 25 (23%). Wonder Woman opened to less than Captain Marvel with $103.2M, and that was during the summer, but she yielded a 4x stateside multiple of $412M. Wonder Woman director gave a shout out to the superhero sister on Twitter:
Diversity demos for Captain Marvel are broad: 47% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 16% African-American and 12% Asian. Definite recommend is still high for the Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck-directed MCU title at 68%, with 58% of the audience saying it met their expectations and 35% saying it exceeded.
PostTrak and CinemaScore are the scientific polled exits to go by in assessing whether people like a movie, not Rotten Tomatoes’ audience meter. Even though the review aggregator has taken steps to try to separate the wheat from the chaff (their new policy is to withhold audience scores until a film opens), it stills remains an unscientific means to assess moviegoers’ opinions, as one can log on various times (as someone else) and falsely weigh down a movie’s audience score (which is now 36% for Captain Marvel).
Hey, Rotten Tomatoes, if you want to get the pulse on what moviegoers are really thinking about a title, then stop with this ancient 1990s means of collecting opinions online and conduct real exit polls at theaters (Going even deeper, there’s even a serious statistical school of thought that when it comes to polling and analyzing moviegoer behavior, it’s in what potential audiences don’t say online or in a poll. The crumbs that they leave behind and their actions speak far greater truths about their interest in a particular movie). Leave all that ugly Internet troll noise to Reddit. Why, Rotten Tomatoes? Because you’re a serious barometer that makes the industry lose its hair. It’s time to grow up.
That’s why there’s a lot of stock in online movie trailer traffic (read, the first trailer for It, which drew 200M in global traffic in its first 24-hours). Captain Marvel‘s teaser trailer, which launched in mid-September during a live Good Morning America taping from Smithsonian Air & Space Museum with an interview with Larson, garnered 109M views in the first 24 hours, ahead of teasers for Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War, and was the No. 1 trending video on YouTube for nearly the entire first day of its launch. The payoff trailer that dropped on Dec. 3 during Monday Night Football on ESPN drew 102M views.
RelishMix reports that Captain Marvel has a solid social media universe at 720.3M followers across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube views and Instagram, ahead of the average superhero title of 654.3M (“Marvel has already exceeded this level by quite a stretch,” says RelishMix). YouTube views are hovering around 216K daily, far exceeding the 187K average for the genre, and driven by an ad from the pic’s promotional partner, Wix Turbo, which counts 16.7M views on YouTube. There’s also 5M views that Captain Marvel earned from its Super Bowl effort (across 34 clips).
Pic’s social media stars are Samuel L. Jackson (close to 16M across FB, Twitter, Instagram), Larson (3.1M) and Clark Gregg (2.7M). Adorable clip that dropped recently and nearing 1M views on YouTube is Jackson and Larson’s Carpool Karaoke stunt, where they take a lie detector test and sing Ariana Grande’s 7 Rings. Take a look:
BOX OFFICE FOR MARCH 8-10
FRIDAY MIDDAY UPDATE: At this point in time Captain Marvel is eyeing a $63.5M Friday, including her $20.7M Thursday night haul. That figure is just under Beauty and the Beast‘s first day of $63.77M (which turned around a $174.7M opening, the best ever in March), and under Batman v. Superman‘s Good Friday haul of $81.55M on March 25, 2016 which grossed a 3-day of $166M. Beauty and the Beast reps the top opening for March, followed by BvS, and then The Hunger Games with $152.5M, which it looks like Captain Marvel is beating.
Where does this put Captain Marvel stateside? Industry estimates predict between $156M and $160M, and possibly more at 4,310 locations. Again, it’s early, these numbers can fluctuate, etc., but it’s quite clear: There’s a lot of business going on this weekend in multiplexes around the world. With guys being the dominant moviegoer last night, the question is whether more women will make a date today to watch Carol Danvers on International Women’s Day.
Last night, 411 Imax screens repped 12% of Captain Marvel’s previews, repping the second biggest March preview for the large format exhibitor behind BvS. Captain Marvel is the biggest Imax day-and-date release worldwide of all-time at 1,360 hubs.
In second, DreamWorks Animation/Universal’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is project to make between $14M-$16M in weekend 3, -53% for a running total on the high-end by Sunday of $120.9M.
Lionsgate’s A Madea Family Funeral is poised to a second weekend of $8.2M, -70% for a 10-day take of $42M.
Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part in weekend 5 is eyeing $4M, -40% for a running total of $97.2M.
Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel is seeing $2.6M, -64%, in weekend 4 for a running total of $77.7M.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Disney is reporting that Captain Marvel flew to $20.7M last night from shows that started at 6PM. Among Thursday Marvel previews that’s the fifth best after Avengers: Infinity War ($39M), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($27.6M), Black Panther ($25.2M), and Captain America: Civil War ($25M).
ComScore/Screen Engine PostTrak scores out of the gate for the 21st Marvel title in the MCU are off to a great start with 4 1/2 stars and a 73% definite recommend. Men overall led over females last night 60% to 40%. It will be interesting to see if that changes over the weekend. Captain Marvel pulled in a 77% general audience, 9% parents and 4% kids. Kids under 12 gave the female superhero five stars with girls giving the pic 100% and boys 91%. In order of demo draw last night men 25+ led at 37% followed by men under 25 (23%), women over 25 (21%) and women under 25 (18%). Women love the pic better than guys, 91% to 82% with females over 25 bestowing the best grades from adults on Carol Danvers at 96% positive.
Disney has appropriately timed Marvel’s first female superhero movie to open on Women’s Day today in 4,310 theaters, and what a wonderful weekend this will be with Captain Marvel set to earn north of $130M should it follow a similar trajectory to that of Suicide Squad which made $20.5M in previews, a $64.8M first day and $133.6M weekend. Spring breaks are starting up: ComScore shows 6% K-12 and 13% colleges off today, numbers which will grow to respectively 18% and 33% by Monday.
Among regular movies in release, DreamWorks Animation/Universal’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World led all pics with $1.35M yesterday, -9% from Wednesday for a two week haul of $104.9M including previews. The threequel is just $3.8M behind in its running domestic total when compared to its previous chapter; again that movie played in July when kids were off from school. Pic’s second week total was $37.2M.
Second yesterday was Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry movie Madea Family Funeral which made $1.2M, -6% for a first week of $33.8M.
Fox/Lightstorm’s Alita: Battle Angel made $445K yesterday, -28% from Wednesday, for an estimated third week of $9.9M and running total of $75.1M.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: Proof that moviegoing isn’t dead this year, and that it just boils down to the product on the marquee, can be vividly seen tonight: Disney’s Captain Marvel starring Oscar winner Brie Larson is on her way to an estimated $20 million-$24 million Thursday night per Deadline industry sources. It is one of the best box office-grossing days that 2019 has seen to date after How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World‘s first Saturday of $22.2M. Since these are rough box office estimates, not from Disney, we always have to footnote that they can increase or decrease by Friday AM.
Should Captain Marvel continue on the pace with what we’re seeing tonight, she’ll rank as the second best preview night for March behind Warner Bros’ Batman v. Superman‘s Holy Thursday 2016 take of $27.7M.
Previews began at 6 PM Thursday for Captain Marvel, the same time that Thursday previews started for Ant-Man and the Wasp, instead of the usual 7 PM which was when Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War fired up.
The range for Captain Marvel is higher than another female-led vehicle, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games, which made $19.7M on its first Thursday back on March 22, 2012. It’s also higher than the first night of Marvel’s Avengers ($18.7M), could beat the preview night of Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad ($20.5M), and comes just under the first Thursdays of last year’s Black Panther ($25.2M) and May 2016’s Captain America: Civil War ($25M). Next to the first night of Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman in June 2017, Captain Marvel is besting her $11M preview by 118%. Fantastic.
Suicide Squad‘s Thursday night repped 32% of its $64.8M opening Friday, turning into a $133.6M opening, the best August has ever seen. Captain America saw around the same share, with Thursday repping 33% of its $75.5M Friday for a $179.1M opening weekend. This gives you an idea of Captain Marvel‘s potential for the weekend.
Tracking was between $120M-$140M and recently rose at the top end to $155M today for the superhero movie directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
In Fandango pre-sales, Captain Marvel is its top advance ticket seller since Avengers: Infinity War last year. In the digital ticket-seller’s survey, 98% of those polled are looking forward to seeing how Captain Marvel connects with the ongoing Avengers storyline. In seven weeks, Disney will open Avengers: Endgame on April 26, jumpstarting the summer early just like it did last year with Infinity War.
Captain Marvel has all the premium super-powers at her command, i.e. 3,000 of her 4,200 theaters are 3D-equipped, all 400-plus Imax hubs, 750 premium large-format screens and 250 D-box locations. The film carries a production budget around $152M (Black Panther cost an estimated $200M before P&A).
Rotten Tomatoes for Captain Marvel stands at 82% certified fresh from 248 reviews, which is healthy enough for a four-quad picture to start a fire over the weekend. Splicing hairs: critics were more marveled by Warner Bros/DC’s Wonder Woman, which earned a 93% RT off 417 reviews.