HEAT VISION

Box Office: 'Captain Marvel' Flies to Historic $153M in U.S., $455M Globally

The superhero pic scored the biggest worldwide opening of all time for a female-fronted film, as well as the second-largest for a comic book adaptation.
'Captain Marvel'   |   Courtesy of Marvel Studios
The superhero pic scored the biggest worldwide opening of all time for a female-fronted film, as well as the second-largest for a comic book adaptation.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, shattered the glass ceiling in its box office debut with $455 million in worldwide ticket sales, including $153 million in North America.

The tentpole's global launch reps the biggest ever for a female-fronted film — eclipsing Beauty and the Beast ($357 million) — as well as the second-largest for any superhero pic behind Avengers: Infinity War ($640.5 million). Overall, it's the sixth-best worldwide bow of all time, and the international opening of $302 million is the fifth-biggest ever ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($281 million).

In North America, Marvel and Disney's first comic book adaptation featuring a woman in the lead role made history in surpassing the $103 million grossed by DC's groundbreaking Wonder Woman on its first weekend, as well as landing the seventh-biggest debut for the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind the three Avengers movies, Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War and Iron Man 3, not adjusted for inflation. It's also the second-largest domestic start for a superhero pic starring a new character behind Black Panther, the first Hollywood studio tentpole to feature an African-American cast.

"Marvel Studios once again proves that stories combining diverse perspectives and different experiences make great movies that play to everybody. People crave representation," says Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff. "Higher, further, faster, baby."

Other stats: Captain Marvel boasts the top domestic opening since Incredibles 2 in June 2018, and the third-biggest ever for the month of March behind Beauty and the Beast, whose worldwide launch included $174.9 million in the U.S., and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million), unadjusted. In terms of female-led properties, Beauty and the Beast retains the crown for the all-time top start in North America.

The enormous international haul for Captain Marvel runs counter to the long-held notion that a female-fronted property can't compete with that of her brethren on a worldwide basis. While DC's Wonder Woman prospered, it didn't reach the same heights overseas in comparison to its domestic strength.

Captain Marvel touched down in virtually every major market, save for Japan. In China, the movie grossed $89.3 million, followed by $24.1 million in South Korea, $16.8 million in the U.K. and $13.4 million in Brazil, a near-industry record. So far internationally, Captain Marvel is pulling in more money than any superhero film introducing a new character.

Captain Marvel, which cost $150 million to make, is another win for Kevin Feige's Marvel and a testament to the company's brand and Disney's marketing prowess. Moviegoers, undeterred by a campaign to derail the pic with negative audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, awarded it with an A CinemaScore and strong exit grades.

Interestingly, 55 percent to 58 percent of ticket buyers were male (that compares with 52 percent on Wonder Woman's opening weekend). The audience was also diverse (48 percent Caucasian, 20 percent Hispanic, 17 percent African-American and 15 percent Asian/Other).

Imax theaters contributed $36.1 million, a record for a non-sequel.

The film's performance was welcome news for the domestic box office, which endured a dismal January and February. Revenue for the weekend was up more than 50 percent over the same frame last year.

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.

Elsewhere, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World placed second with $14.7 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $119.7 million and $435.2 million globally.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral came in third in its sophomore outing with $12 million for a 10-day total of $45.9 million.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and Alita: Battle Angel rounded out the top five in their fifth and fourth weekends, respectively, with $3.8 million and $3.2 million. Alita's domestic total through Sunday stands at $78.3 million, a worrisome sum considering the film's $170 million-plus budget.

At the specialty box office, A24's Gloria Bell, starring Julianne Moore, debuted in five theaters for a solid location average of $29,000.

Documentary Apollo 11 expanded into a total of 405 theaters in its second weekend, grossing $1.3 million for a domestic total of $3.8 million.

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