For all those who had been concerned about relatively poor box office in 2019, never fear, Marvel is finally here to goose things up. It's not going to stimulate things to quite the degree that they did this time last year, but ye gods, nothing ever makes you people happy, does it?
Weekend Forecast for March 8-10, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
March 7, 2019
One of the closing credits sequences of last summer's Avengers: Infinity War teased the introduction of a new hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - one that would apparently offer a solution to the corner they had painted themselves into (or maybe the answer is still Ant-Man, because that would be hilarious). Captain Marvel is also a direction for the next phase of Marvel movies, once we get past Captain America and Iron Man, and significant in being the first female-led film in the MCU (which some people are apparently unhappy about, but more about that later).
A period piece set in the distant time known as the late 1990s (ye gods) it star Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, an air force pilot thought lost from Earth, but actually rescued by the Krees (the bad guys from the first Guardians movie) and turned into a galactic warrior in their battle against the Skrulls, a race of shape-shifting goblins bent on universal domination. Following one of their battles, she crash lands back on Earth - which is unknowingly in the first stages of a Skrull invasion.
We're also in the early stages of Nick Fury's control over S.H.I.E.L.D., which means that that CGI de-aging technology gets put into heavy use for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg, who reappear as Fury and Agent Coulson, with all sorts of wacky 90s references. Also on hand are Jude Law as a Kree commander who trained Danvers, Annette Bening as the ruler of the Kree, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou and Lee Pace (as his same character from Guardians).
As a human/Kree hybrid, Captain Marvel bridges the gap between the Earth-based stories and the more space-based stories that Marvel seems to be aiming towards. One of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel arsenal (with flight, energy projection and superhuman strength being in the mix), Captain Marvel is a strong selling point to try and expand Marvel's audience even further (though is not already at max?) and attract more female viewers. This, despite the character having existed in comics for decades, is somehow not without controversy, because nerds. Larson has expressed a desire for more female voices in reviews, which is apparently a bridge too far for some fedoras.
While I don't expect that to have a lot of effect on box office, the apparently ho-hum action compared to what we've come to expect from MCU could put a little damper on things. This is a relative measure of course, as even third-tier properties like Ant-Man can warrant a $75 million opening weekend. There's nothing quite as special as with last year's Black Panther but that's a tough standard to face up to. Hype is strong but not overwhelming but I think the appetite for a new event movie has built up to push this to around $114 million this weekend.
Returning films are led once again by How to Train Your Dragon 3, which held off a hard charging Madea Family Funeral to stay on top of the charts. It's paced the other two films in the series so far, each of which reached the $100 million mark in exactly 12 days, despite quite different opening weekends. I don't expect competition to play much of a role in its third weekend, so it should hold nicely at $18 million.
A Madea Family Funeral was one of Tyler Perry's best efforts in years, thanks no doubt in part to it being a farewell to the character (or so he says), with $27 million to start. The legs on these films have invariably been terrible and this should be no different, with a second weekend of $12 million. Other returning films hovering around relevance are Alita: Battle Angel, which is headed to around $90 million domestic, and The LEGO Movie 2, likely ending up at around $115 million. Each should wind up just below $5 million this weekend.