Weekend Wrap-Up

Disney and Marvel Score Again With Captain America: Civil War

By John Hamann

May 8, 2016


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It’s a good time to be Disney. They already have $1.7 billion in worldwide grosses from Zootopia and The Jungle Book, and will easily double that over the next three months as Captain America: Civil War hits North American theaters this weekend.

This is the weekend of Captain America: Civil War, the showdown between Cap and Iron Man and their respective teams of superheroes going at each other. This is wannabe Avengers, and its competition (and box office) behaved like it. All other studios hid in fear this weekend, leaving Captain America: Civil War as the lone opener. Other than The Jungle Book (Disney’s other film in the top two), only Mother’s Day managed to earn more than $1 million on Friday night, which shows the box office is primed for new product and the summer onslaught. Disney’s trifecta of awesomeness (Civil War, Jungle Book, Zootopia) managed to earn a combined $200 million plus at the domestic box office, and worldwide? Huge amounts of money for Disney.

Marvel and Disney’s Captain America: Civil War landed hard at the box office this weekend, and as expected, it dominated, but it didn’t reach or surpass any of the higher estimates out there prior to the weekend ($200 million plus over three days). Still, there is absolutely nothing to be disappointed about here. Captain America: Civil War got started with a bang on Thursday night, earning an awesome $25 million from previews, which started at 7 p.m.. While not at the level of The Dark Knight Rises ($30 million plus from previews), Civil War still had a very strong Thursday, finishing just behind Age of Ultron in terms of Thursday previews ($27.6 million) and Batman v Superman ($27.8 million). At this point, we knew that records were likely not falling, but Captain America: Civil War was prepping for an excellent weekend and a huge start to the summer season.


The usual Marvel/Disney formula struck again, as the two companies have constructed the almost perfect pattern for filmmaking and release. Captain America: Civil War started with Marvel and Disney bringing back Joe and Anthony Russo to direct this sequel to their own Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the film that almost doubled the first Captain America’s worldwide gross ($714 million worldwide versus the original’s $370 million worldwide). The Russos have been tapped to direct this one and Avengers: Infinity War, Parts I and II. These guys seem to get Marvel; Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Rotten Tomatoes score came in at 89% fresh, and they did even better with Civil War which is 91% fresh to date. They definitely understand the action, but the banter amongst the superheroes reflects that the Russos also did the pilot for Arrested Development and have a strong knack for dialogue.

On Friday, Captain America: Civil War did the expected, pulling in a very strong $75.3 million for the first day plus previews. That gives Cap and friends the eighth biggest opening day ever, finishing about a half million behind The Dark Knight Rises, which earned $75.8 million on opening day, and comfortably in front of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which had a first day gross of $72.7 million. Will Civil War’s opening day remain at eighth going into 2017? Probably not. Suicide Squad might have an outside shot at it, but my money is on either Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (coming in November) or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, opening on December 16th. Records don’t last long these days.

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