With three days of receipts, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is already the biggest grossing film of 2019, and with $153 million, it’s not even close. The latest film in the Marvel Universe, an origins story for both the title character and Agent Nick Fury, has satisfied all the pent-up demand that has been building for a huge, four-quadrant blockbuster since the holiday release of Aquaman, offering up the best opening weekend at the box office since last June’s Incredibles 2 while also turning in the third best March opening of all time, behind only Beauty and the Beast ($174 million) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million). It’s also the 7th best opening ever for an MCU film, and all six above it went on to make $400 million or more at the U.S. box office.
The worldwide numbers are somehow even more impressive. Overseas, the film is poised to score $300 million in its first frame, including an estimated $90 million in China, and if the combined numbers hold, Captain Marvel could be looking at a global opening weekend of over $450 million, besting even the worldwide launch of Black Panther, which earned $430 million in its opening weekend on the way to over $1.3 billion in ticket sales.
Not bad for the MCU’s first female-led movie, which also happens to be based on a lesser known character played by an actress best known for her indie films, The Room and Short Term 12 and directed by a husband-wife team whose biggest box-office success in their 13-year directing career earned $6 million. The film obviously got some help by being part of the most popular franchise on the planet, but it was also buoyed by strong word of mouth (it has received an A Cinemascore) and solid reviews, scoring a 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, in spite of thousands of trolls bombing the Rotten Tomatoes audience score on Friday, pushing that score down as low as 33 percent before people who actually saw the movie helped lift the average.
It’s hard not to talk about the Captain Marvel’s box office without at least mentioning the failed efforts of right-wing trolls to ignite a backlash against the film by encouraging moviegoers to see Alita: Battle Angel instead.
The message clearly didn’t resonate with many, because not only did Captain Marvel obliterate its already sky-high projections, but Alita: Battle Angel continued its downward trajectory, falling another 55 percent to earn $3.2 million. After a month at the box office, its earned about half of what Captain Marvel earned in 3 days, despite a bigger budget for Alita. My personal feelings on the matter are that solid social media word of mouth or backlash like sometimes move the needle up or down by $2 million or $3 million, which is huge for a horror movie like Hereditary, but it’s meaningless for a film like Captain Marvel.
Elsewhere, the rest of the top ten were all holdovers, as studios wisely made way for Captain Marvel. How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World held on to the number two spot, delivering another $14 million to bring its three-week total to $119 million. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral took the three-spot, adding $12 million to bring its 10-day total to $45.8 million, as Madea goes out strong. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is limping toward $100 million, adding $3.7 million to bring its five-week total to $97 million.
The aforementioned Alita took number five this weekend, followed by Green Book, which continues to coast on its Best Picture win, earning $2.6 million to bring its total to $80 million. It’s also doing very well overseas, adding another $28 million to brings its global total to $160 million. With $2.3 million, Isn’t It Romantic has now earned $44 million, while Fighting with my Family is up to $18 million after adding another $2.28 million.
Finally, Greta dropped all the way down to number nine in its second weekend, earning $2.1 million to bring its total to $8 million, while What Men Want closes out the top ten with $1.7 million and $51 million overall.
The studios are throwing three new releases into next weekend, which seem like sacrificial lambs they’re offering up to the Captain Marvel gods. Captive State, starring John Goodman and Vera Farmiga, will open in over 2,000 theaters; the romance Five Feet Apart is scheduled to open in 2600 theaters, and the animated family film Wonder Park opens in 3,500 theaters and could perform modestly well.