1:12pm PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Captain Marvel' Heads for Heroic $155M-$160M U.S. Launch
Captain Marvel is headed for a heroic debut of $155 million to $160 million at the domestic box office after earning $61.4 million on Friday.
Even at $150 million, the first female-fronted superhero pic from Marvel Studios and Disney would land the second-best opening of all time for a comic book adaptation starring a new character behind Black Panther ($200 million), as well as the seventh biggest for any title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind the three Avengers movies: Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War and Iron Man 3, not adjusted for inflation.
Other stats: the movie looks to rank among the top 20 domestic openings of all time.
Captain Marvel's Friday gross included a mighty $20.7 million in Thursday previews. (DC's Wonder Woman earned $11 million in previews on its way to a domestic launch of $103 million.)
The performance of Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, is welcome news for the domestic box office, which endured a dismal January and February (revenue for the weekend is up more than 50 percent over the same frame last year). It's also a boost for the ongoing call to feature more females in front of and behind the camera.
Overseas, the tentpole is likewise off to a strong start, grossing $127 million through Friday for an early global total of $188.4 million. That includes $34.3 million collected in China on Friday, the second-highest start for any MCU title, behind Infinity War.
The story, set in 1995, follows galactic warrior Vers as she flexes her powers and savvy when a battle between two alien races threatens Earth. Along the way, she discovers her true identity and past — along with Goose the cat. Larson reprises the role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel — which opened on International Women's Day — also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg and Jude Law.
Captain Marvel currently boasts a Rotten Tomatoes score of 82 percent. The rating among top critics is a more divisive 62 percent, however.
Audiences were far more satisfied, giving the pic an A CinemaScore, despite a concerted effort by trolls to torpedo Marvel with poor audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Moreover, males made up 60 percent of Friday ticket buyers.
Elsewhere, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World looks to place second with $15.2 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $120 million-plus through Sunday. Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral is tumbling a steep 58 percent in its second outing with a projected $11.5 million for a 10-day total just shy of $46 million.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Chapter and Alita: Battle Angel will round out the top five in their fifth and fourth weekends respectively, with an estimated $4 million and $3.2 million.
At the specialty box office, A24 is opening Gloria Bell in five theaters. The film, starring Julianne Moore, looks to post an opening location average of $28,000.