Sunday, March 10, 2019

"Higher, Further, Faster" Indeed, Captain Marvel Soars With A Massive $153 Million Opening Weekend

The twenty-first Marvel Cinematic Universe title, Captain Marvel, managed to become one of the franchises biggest features yet with a massive $153 million domestic opening weekend. That makes (everyone take a deep breath now!) Captain Marvel the biggest movie of 2019 domestically while also scoring the seventh-biggest opening weekend ever for an MCU title and the third-biggest for a non-sequel (only behind The Avengers and Black Panther). It's also the eleventh biggest opening weekend for any superhero movie in history, the eleventh biggest opening weekend for any Disney title ever (eight of Disney's thirteen biggest opening weekends belong to Marvel movies) and the third-biggest opening weekend ever for a movie opening in March.  It's also already Brie Larson's second-biggest movie ever and it should surpass the $168 million domestic gross of Kong: Skull Island sometime this week to become her biggest movie ever. But it wasn't just in North America that Captain Marvel impressed, no no, its worldwide opening weekend was $455 million, the sixth biggest worldwide opening weekend in history, an astonishing feat for a movie starring a character who had never previously appeared in a live-action movie before.

Despite the incessant tantrums of toxic internet fanboys, Captain Marvel became the first massive hit of 2019 and one of the biggest titles ever from Marvel Studios. That's no surprise given how rampant the marketing was as well as how the marketing leaned heavily on an appealing inspirational quality that was guaranteed to get viewers hyped. Placing memorable ads during high-profile TV events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards in the last month helped the movie stand out while making sure that posters and commercials highlighted unique elements of the feature (like Captain Marvel punching an old lady or a cute kitty named Goose) made this new directorial effort from Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck emerge as distinctive. Given that there isn't another major PG-13 tentpole until Shazam in four weeks, I'd wager Captain Marvel holds slightly better than usual for an MCU movie, maybe we're eventually looking at a domestic total around $400-410 million?

Captain Marvel wasn't the only movie making money this weekend though as How to Train Your Dragon continued its box office run with a 51% drop this frame and a third-weekend gross of $14 million for a domestic gross of $119 million. In third place was A Madea Family Funeral, which fell 55% this frame (a bigger second-weekend drop than either of the last two Madea movies) to gross another $12 million for a domestic total of $45.8 million. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part continued to make a run for $100 million as it grossed another $3.8 million (a 42% drop from last weekend) for a domestic total of only $97.1 million to date. Rounding out the top five was Alita: Battle Angel, which dropped 56% this weekend for a $3.2 million fourth-weekend gross for a poor domestic gross to date of only $78 million.

With the newest Academy Awards ceremony fading further into the past. all of the big Oscar contenders from the past year had major weekend-to-weekend drops this frame, including Best Picture Winner Green Book, which fell 45% this weekend to add $2.4 million to a domestic gross that now stands at $80.1 million. Isn't It Romantic fell 46% this weekend for a fourth-weekend haul of $2.4 million and a domestic total of $44.1 million. Fighting with My Family continued to fall sharply with a 53% drop this frame for a third-weekend of $2.18 million for a domestic gross of $18.6 million. In its second weekend of release, Greta grossed another $2.16 million, a 51% drop from last weekend for a domestic total of $8.2 million. Rounding out the top ten was Apollo 11, which lost its IMAX screens this weekend to Captain Marvel but it did at least manage to expand to 405 locations where it grossed $1.3 million for a per-theater average of $3,212 for a lovely ten-day domestic total of $3.7 million, making it already the third-biggest ever from NEON.

A Star is Born fell 60% this weekend to add $744,000 to a domestic gross that now stands at $214.5 million while Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse plummetted 69% this frame, grossing another $650,000 in the process for a domestic haul of $188.7 million. Badla debuted in 94 locations this weekend and grossed $614,328 for a per-theater average of $6,535. Lionsgate clearly didn't have that much confidence in The Kid given that they announced it would open this weekend just about a month ago, heck, it didn't even have a trailer until two weeks ago! That awkward release strategy resulted in a meager $505,000 bow from 268 locations and a lackluster per-theater average of $1,884. There's a solid chance this ends up being the lowest-grossing movie Chris Pratt has ever appeared in, save for the 2012 indie film 10 Years.

Furie expanded into 27 locations this weekend and grossed $164,000 for a per-theater average of $6,074 and a domestic total of $395,464. A24 took the last two months of 2018 off but they're hitting the ground running in 2019 as they debuted their second 2019 title, Gloria Bell, just one week after their first movie of the year (that first film was Climax). Gloria Bell managed to get off to a solid start with a $154,775 opening weekend from 5 locations for a per-theater average of $30,955. Compared to recent March arthouse titles, that's actually a better opening weekend than Eye In The Sky and Hello, My Name Is Doris, so this bodes well for Gloria Bell's expansion over the weekends to come. CatVideoFest 2019 coughed up a hairball, er, $141,500 from 55 locations for a per-theater average of $2,573 and a domestic total of $216,076. The other 2019 A24 title, Climax, expanded into 28 locations and grossed $110,786 for a per-theater average of $3,957 and a domestic total of $280,672.

The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a massive total of $199.5 million, the biggest tenth weekend of any given year in history and the fourth-biggest March weekend in history. Look what a difference an appealing movie can make to the 2019 domestic box office!

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