Movie fans still love The Avengers. Even when they’re fighting amongst themselves. The summer blockbuster season kicked off in style with the thunderous debut of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War which grossed an estimated $181.8M making it the fifth largest opening weekend in box office history. Disney’s latest moneymaker averaged a spectacular $43,017 from 4,226 locations.
Compared to past Captain America films, Civil War nearly doubled the $95M debut weekend for the last installment, 2014’s The Winter Soldier, and nearly tripled the $65.1M bow of 2011’s The First Avenger. This new film was different as it brought together numerous heroes under one roof making it feel more like an Avengers sequel than a Captain America one. Civil War features the super soldier at odds against Iron Man with the rest of the characters taking sides leading to an epic six-on-six battle. The third movie incarnation of Spider-Man was introduced which was a first since that character had only been in separate films from Sony before.
The super hero team just had their own film 52 weeks ago. Avengers: Age of Ultron opened this very weekend last year to kickoff Summer 2015 and bowed to a humongous $191.3M which at the time was the second best of all-time behind the $207.4M of the first Avengers from 2012. Four of the five biggest opening weekends ever have come within the past 12 months. They are Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248M), Jurassic World ($208.8M), Avengers, Ultron, and Civil War. Bumped down to sixth is Iron Man 3 with $174.1M in 2013. Given three years of ticket price increases, Civil War and Iron Man 3 both sold the same number of tickets on opening weekend – roughly 21 million. Compared to Ultron, Civil War opened 5% lower.
For Captain America: Civil War‘s weekend, things kicked off on Friday with $75.3M including $25M from Thursday pre-shows beginning at 7pm. It was the eighth biggest opening day ever. Saturday slipped 19% to $61.1M while Mother’s Day Sunday is projected by the studio to drop another 26% to about $45.4M. Sunday drops for the last times that Mother’s Day fell on the summer kickoff weekend when Marvel was opening a new super hero flick include 28% for 2011’s Thor and 32% for 2010’s Iron Man 2.
Disney reported audience data which showed a predictable crowd for a comic book movie. The PG-13 pic attracted an audience that was 59% male and 57% over 25. A terrific A grade from CinemaScore indicated that paying moviegoers enjoyed what they got. Both Ultron and Winter Soldier earned the same grade. The next two weekends do not see any similar action offerings coming so the road ahead should be good, though movies this deep into a franchise tend to draw in their fan base upfront.
Super hero movies have been on fire this year. Civil War opened bigger than February’s Deadpool ($132.4M) and March’s rival smackdown epic Batman v Superman from DC Comics ($166M). Next up is Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse over Memorial Day weekend this month followed by DC’s Suicide Squad on August 5 and Marvel’s Doctor Strange on November 4.
This is the tenth straight year that Marvel super heroes dominated the first weekend of May. Since 2007’s Spider-Man 3, the comic giant has seen its characters kickoff summer on this lucrative weekend with films released by Sony, Fox, Paramount, and Disney. Marvel has no intention of giving up this prime real estate having already planted its heroic flag on 2017 with Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 followed by Avengers: Infinity War Part I in 2018, then Part II in 2019, and an untitled movie for 2020 which is just on the calendar to scare away competitors. You can guess who will eventually claim 2021.
IMAX theaters grossed a hefty $31.3M globally pushing the cume from those screens to $45M. North America captured $16M from 380 sites while China amassed $10M from 283.
Civil War broke out all over the world as the rest of the major markets opened this weekend along with the U.S. The whole weekend brought in $220M from international markets boosting the offshore total to $496.6M and the global gross to a stunning $678.4M on its way past the $1 billion mark, possibly next weekend. China led the way with an explosive $95.8M opening weekend which already makes it the top overseas market for the film by far.
Disney wasn’t satisfied with number one and held the number two spot as well with its adventure hit The Jungle Book which fell an understandably large 50% to an estimated $21.9M in its fourth weekend. Captain America attracted kids of all ages so the PG-rated pic from Iron Man director Jon Favreau saw its biggest decline to date, but still watched its cume soar to an incredible $285M. With an additional $491.2M from overseas markets, Jungle Book has now taken in a stellar $776.2M across the world.
Open Road is projecting a Mother’s Day uptick on Sunday for Mother’s Day. The all-star pic will gross an estimated $9M for the weekend, up 8% thanks to the holiday, for a cume of $20.7M. A final gross of around $35M seems likely for the comedy starring Lancôme brand ambassador Julia Roberts, Almay pitchwoman Kate Hudson, and Aveeno and Emirates brand ambassador Jennifer Aniston.
Scraps filled up the rest of the top ten with under $4M each. Universal’s big-budget bomb The Huntsman: Winter’s War tumbled 63% to an estimated $3.6M for $40.4M to date and $146.3M global. The kitten comedy Keanu fell 67% in its sophomore outing to an estimated $3.1M as its adult male audience was stolen away giving Warner Bros. $15.1M.
Zootopia was one of the only holdovers in the top ten to not freefall. The Disney smash collected an estimated $2.7M in its tenth weekend, down 50%, for a new domestic haul of $327.6M passing Batman v Superman for number 42 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. Worldwide, the bunny flick has amassed a giant $956.4M.
More steep drops followed. Barbershop: The Next Cut fell 56% to an estimated $2.7M for Warner Bros. while fellow comedy The Boss stumbled 59% to an estimated $1.8M for Universal. Cumes are $48.8M and $59.1M, respectively.
Destroyed in its second weekend, the animated flop Ratchet & Clank dropped a sharp 70% to an estimated $1.5M giving Focus a dismal $7.1M to date. With comic book fans abandoning it, Batman v Superman tumbled 73% to an estimated $1M for a cume of $327.3M putting it at number 43 on the all-time domestic list. Worldwide, Dawn of Justice sits at a sturdy $865M.
On the specialty scene, the adult comedy A Bigger Splash enjoyed a good debut, with an estimated $110,000 from just five locations for a solid $22,000 average for Fox Searchlight. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Dakota Johnson, the R-rated pic earned positive reviews and will expand to five more markets this Friday. Cume since the Wednesday opening is $134,000.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $229M which was up 2% from last year’s summer kickoff weekend when Avengers: Age of Ultron opened at number one with $191.3M; and up 62% from 2014’s kickoff when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 debuted in the top spot with $91M.
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