Box Office: Charting 'Captain Marvel's' Meteoric Rise Among Superhero Pics

The first female-led pic cleared $760 million at the global box office in its first 12 days as it races toward the $1 billion threshold.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
'Captain Marvel'

Captain Marvel's standing among Hollywood studio superhero pics continues to impress.

The Marvel Studios and Disney tentpole finished Sunday — its 12th day in release — with $760.2 million in global ticket sales, besting the entire lifetime runs of numerous comic book adaptations, including Man of Steel, as well as passing up Wonder Woman overseas.

And its already become one of the most successful female-fronted properties in history at the worldwide box office, eclipsing all of the Twilight films and three of the four installments in The Hunger Games series.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, is virtually assured of becoming only the eighth comic book adaptation to join the billion-dollar club after the three Avengers films, Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War and Aquaman, not adjusted for inflation. And it will be only the second superhero tentpole introducing a new stand-alone character to crack $1 billion behind Black Panther (sorry, Iron Man).

Globally, the movie has already earned more than The Amazing Spider-Man ($758 million), X-Men: Day of Future Past ($748 million), Suicide Squad ($747 million), Captain America: Winter Soldier ($714 million), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($709 million), Doctor Strange ($678 million), Man of Steel ($668 million), Justice League ($658 million), Thor: The Dark World ($645 million), Iron Man 2 ($624 million) and Ant-Man and The Wasp ($623 million), not adjusted for inflation.

"After Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, I think we can safely say that gender is not a big factor anymore in terms of what excites moviegoers with regard to superhero movies," says box office analyst Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations.

"And considering that more than 55 percent of the audience is male, this points to the general majority caring more about the threads of the Marvel universal and how powerful the pull is, more than who is in the suit," says Bock.

In North America, Captain Marvel 's running cume is $266.2 million. Most analysts believe it will top out at $400 million-plus domestically, on par with DC and Wonder Woman, ($412.6 million).

Overseas is a different story. Wonder Woman earned $409 million internationally, or roughly 50 percent of its gross. International grosses often make up 60 percent to 70 percent of a film's total box office earnings. Captain Marvel's international tally through Sunday is a massive $494 million (65 percent).

"I think that we have now seen that superheroes don’t have to be white males. Black Panther showed that a mass audience will show up for an African-American hero. Wonder Woman highlighted a female character can draw big crowds," says Wall Street analyst Eric Handler.

"Captain Marvel builds on these themes. Not to take away from this view, but it also didn’t hurt that Captain Marvel is an important part of Avengers: Endgame, and we have known this plot point since last summer," Handler continues. "First and foremost, though, is it all starts with making a very good movie which people want to see."

March 18, 8 a.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized Wonder Woman's global run. THR regrets the error.