‘Captain Marvel’ proves female superheroes can kick it at box office

captain marvel breaks box office records history with women power 2019 images

Box office analysts speculated that Marvel‘s “Captain Marvel” might be the film to save 2019’s dismal box office, and they were absolutely correct. Brie Larson’s superhero was unstoppable in its worldwide box office debut this weekend.

Before it opened, it had already broken the record set by DC/Warner Bros. with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” appearing on 4,242 with “Captain Marvel” being shown on 4,310 theater screens. Unlike “Batman v Superman,” which opened strong but died quickly after bad word of mouth hit, Marvel’s latest entry is being given an ‘A’ by audiences exiting the film. Not even what are called anti-SJW could stop this runaway money train. Expect it to reign in the top 5 for the next 2 months.

“Captain Marvel,” Marvel Studios’ first female-fronted superhero movie, launched with $153 million domestically and $455 million globally, according to studio estimates Sunday, making it one of the biggest blockbusters ever led by a woman.

It also sets a new worldwide mark for a film directed or co-directed by a woman. “Captain Marvel” was helmed by the filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who previously made the indies “Half Nelson” and “Mississippi Grind.”

“Captain Marvel” is the first film in the franchise dedicated to the story of a female superhero. DC-Warner Bros. and their Gal Gadot-led “Wonder Woman” broke a comic book glass ceiling in 2017, but “Captain Marvel” had an even stronger opening, bringing in over $50 million more than “Wonder Woman,” which sold around $100.5 million in tickets during its opening weekend. While DC-Warner Bros. hired a single woman — Patty Jenkins — to direct “Wonder Woman,” Disney-Marvel’s movie split directing duties between Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who wrote the script with Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, a character who first debuted in Marvel Comics in 1968, had never before made it into the movies and was previously lesser known than many Marvel heroes. But “Captain Marvel,” which came in at the high end of the Walt Disney Co.’s expectations, ranks as one of Marvel’s most successful character debuts.

An origin story whose soundtrack trades in the likes of Salt-N-Pepa and Nirvana, “Captain Marvel” is set principally in 1990s California, where Larson’s hero crash-lands and eventually teams up with Nicholas Fury, a government agent familiar to Marvel fans and here played by a younger-looking, digitally rejuvenated Samuel L. Jackson. Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, and Lashana Lynch play other major roles.

Only “The Avengers” movies, “Black Panther,” ″Captain America: Civil War” and “Iron Man 3” have opened better in the Marvel cinematic universe.

“She definitely pushed us higher, further, faster,” said Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff.

“Captain Marvel” rocketed up other record books, too. It’s the sixth largest worldwide debut ever. The only movie with a female lead that’s opened better globally was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which grossed $529 million when it debuted in 2015.

Like the “Force Awakens” sequel “The Last Jedi,” ″Captain Marvel” had to tangle with trolls who sought to lessen the film’s impact. Some fans claimed Larson’s hero didn’t smile enough, a charge she responded to with doctored pictures of previous male Marvel superheroes with awkwardly full grins. Others took issue with Larson’s statements about making her press interviews for the film more inclusive and not “overwhelmingly white male.”

The anti-“Captain Marvel” campaign included the flooding of Rotten Tomatoes audience scores, which artificially drove down the film’s score to 55 percent fresh from more than 44,000 votes as of Sunday. To combat the down-voting issue in advance of “Captain Marvel,” Rotten Tomatoes (which doesn’t require users to verify that they’ve seen a movie that they’re scoring) removed the ability to rate movies prior to release.

Taff declined to address “Captain Marvel” foes but applauded Marvel and Kevin Feige for propelling a movie that expanded the Marvel universe.

“What they believe is that the more you diversify perspective and experience in front of and behind the camera, the better the movies and the stories are,” said Taff of Marvel. “You see that in their track record. I think you see that in their box office. And I think you see that in the broadening of their fan base.”

CinemaScore, which relies on interviews with audience members coming out of theaters, found crowds very much liked “Captain Marvel,” giving it an A rating. Reviews were less enthusiastic but still good, landing 79 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

It was easily the best opening of any movie thus far in 2019. The box office had been frigidly cold coming into the weekend with ticket sales down 26 percent, according to Comscore. “Captain Marvel” single-handedly chopped almost 5 percent off that figure with a weekend that overall was up 47 percent from the same last year.

“The box office year of 2019 officially started this weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “We’re going to have one of the biggest box-office years ever but looking at the first two months, you wouldn’t know it.”

Audiences in the U.S. and Canada for “Captain Marvel” were 55 percent male and 45 percent female. International grosses were especially strong, led by $89.3 million in China, where “Captain Marvel” trailed only “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” among Marvel releases.

For Disney, it’s a strong start for a year littered with tentpole releases, some of which are sure to surpass “Captain Marvel,” including: “Avengers: Endgame,” ″Toy Story 4,” a remake of “The Lion King” and the next “Star Wars” movie.

Last week’s top film, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” slid to a distant second place in its third weekend of release with $14.7 million. In its second weekend, Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral” dropped 55 percent with $12 million. It’s made $45.9 million in 10 days.

“Captain Marvel” scared away any new wide releases. Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut, “The Kid,” was largely overlooked by moviegoers. It sold $505,000 of tickets in 268 theaters.

For Disney, Marvel Studios has made close to $18 billion worldwide. “Captain Marvel” is a boost for the movie industry, which has gotten off to a sluggish start this year. The 2019 North American box office was down 26% heading into Friday. Because of “Captain Marvel,” this weekend’s box office totals were up roughly 50% compared to the same weekend last year, according to Comscore.

A24′s “Gloria Bell,” Sebastian Lelio’s remake of his own Chilean drama, opened strongly in limited release with $154,775 in five theaters. The film stars Julianne Moore and a middle-aged Los Angeles divorcee.

“Apollo 11,” the acclaimed moon landing documentary featuring newly discovered and restored footage, continued to pack theaters. It made $1.3 million from 285 locations, including many IMAX screens.

North American Box Office

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. “Captain Marvel,” $153 million ($302 million international).

2. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $14.7 million.

3. “A Madea Family Funeral,” $12.1 million.

4. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” $3.8 million.

5. “Alita: Battle Angel,” $3.2 million.

6. “Green Book,” $2.5 million.

7. “Isn’t it Romantic,” $2.4 million.

8. “Fighting With My Family,” $2.2 million.

9. “Greta,” $2.2 million.

10. “Apollo 11,” $1.3 million.

Worldwide Box Office

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:

1. “Captain Marvel,” $302 million.

2. “Green Book,” $28.3 million.

3. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $21.7 million.

4. “Alita: Battle Angel,” $11.6 million.

5. “Natsume’s Book of Friends the Movie: Ephemeral Bond,” $10.4 million.

6. “The Wandering Earth, $5.2 million.

7. “Escape Room,” $4.3 million.

8. “The Mule,” $4.2 million.

9. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” $3.9 million.

10. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” $2.8 million.