Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019Walt Disney
Captain Marvel raced higher, further and/or faster over its second weekend, topping the global box office yet again and clearing a handful of milestones in the process. The MCU flick earned another $69.3 million in North America, a drop of 55% from its $153.4m debut frame. This is, quite frankly, a deeply boring result, as it’s neither a super-duper hold or a super-super drop. It is more-or-less on par with the various Hunger Games movies and most MCU flicks (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man and Thor: The Dark World among others).
Boring is good when you’re dealing with numbers this large. The Anna Boden/Ryan Fleck-directed sci-fi actioner has already earned $266.2 million in ten days of domestic release. That puts it past the unadjusted-for-inflation totals of Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($202m), Batman Begins ($205m), Superman Returns ($206m), Thor: The Dark World ($206m), Venom ($212m), Solo ($214m), Ant-Man and the Wasp ($215m), Justice League ($229m), Doctor Strange ($232m), X-Men: Days of Future Past ($233m), The Amazing Spider-Man ($262m) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259m). At this point, it looks like the Brie Larson/Samuel L. Jackson/Reggie the Cat 1990s prequel will top $400m domestic.
It only needs to be about as leggy going forward as The First Avenger and Doctor Strange to end above $400 million. A run like The Hunger Games or Ant-Man and the Wasp from this point puts it at $436m domestic, while post-day-ten-legs like Guardians Vol. 2 puts it at around $418m. Whether it finishes closer to Iron Man 3 ($409m) or Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459m) will be decided over the next couple of weeks. Yes, it fell harder than the various Walt Disney pre-summer live-action fairy tale flicks, but it’s still in the safe zone when it comes to big comic book superhero movies.
Universal/Comcast’s Us, Walt Disney’s own Dumbo, Paramount/Viacom’s Pet Semetary and Warner Bros.’ Shazam will provide demographic competition over the next three weeks. With a likely over/under $325 million domestic cume by next weekend and a clear shot at $1 billion-plus worldwide, the movie is already a hit. If it does cross $1b, it’ll be the first live-action movie with a female co-director and the second movie period alongside Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck’s Frozen. Frozen II will likely be the third such film, and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 is itching to become the first $1b-plus grosser from a solo female filmmaker.
Speaking of which, Captain Marvel is already the third-biggest female-directed (or co-directed) grosser ever, well above Mamma Mia! ($609 million in 2008) and now below only Wonder Woman ($821m in 2017) and Frozen ($1.276b in 2013/2014). The film soared past $760m worldwide this weekend, surpassing the likes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714m in 2014), the first four Twilight movies, the first, third and fourth Hunger Games movie, Maleficent ($748m in 2014), Man of Steel ($668m in 2013), Justice League ($659m in 2017) and Suicide Squad ($745m in 2016). More importantly, the film has earned over $500m overseas, including $125m in China alone.
That debunks the (shoulda-been-debunked-years-ago) conventional wisdom about female-led movies suffering overseas. As much as folks decried the “par for the course” $408 million overseas gross of Wonder Woman and the “still very good” $645m overseas gross of Black Panther as evidence that foreign audiences (especially those pesky Chinese) were less progressive than North Americans, that wasn’t born out by the numbers. A merely “as expected” overseas performance doesn’t equal overseas sexism just because a given film overperformed in North America. That Black Panther earned $700m domestic doesn’t mean that the movie has to earn $2.21 billion worldwide to avoid appearances of overseas prejudice.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ($312 million in 2017), xXx: The Return of Xander Cage ($385m in 2017), Alita: Battle Angel ($395m-and-counting), Coco ($807m in 2017) and Tomb Raider ($275m in 2018) have proven time and time again that overseas audiences, including Chinese audiences, won’t be turned away by the notion of a blockbuster starring a white lady or an actor of color. It may not be an explicit #representationmatters draw for overseas markets, but it certainly doesn’t scare anyone off. Even Green Book has earned $275 million worldwide, with a $192m overseas cume that has vastly surpassed its $83m domestic total.
It was China that pushed Ant-Man and the Wasp over $600 million global. It matters at least a little bit that Captain Marvel, the MCU’s 21st movie and (pathetically) their first solo female-led superhero movie, is actually doing huge business overseas ($494m-and-counting) as well. At this point, even with a sharp drop in China (a $132m ten-day total), it’s looking like the movie will likely pass $1 billion-plus in global grosses in the next two weeks. It has, for what it’s worth, passing the $692m cume of The Wandering Earth to become the year’s biggest global grosser. Yes, Avengers: Endgame will surpass it in a month, but what about anything else opening this year?