After two months of mostly sluggish business, the 2019 box office got a huge jolt from the most reliable hitmaker in Hollywood, Disney’s Marvel Studios, as “Captain Marvel” soared to a $153 million domestic opening from 4,310 screens.
That result puts the Brie Larson blockbuster third on the all-time list of March opening weekends, sitting only behind the 2017 “Beauty and the Beast” remake ($174 million) and 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($166 million). It’s also the second-highest opening for a film with a solo female lead, after 2013’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” with $158 million.
Overseas, “Captain Marvel” earned an estimated $89.3 million, just behind “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Captain America: Civil War” as the third highest MCU opening. The film opened wide in all global territories except Japan — which gets the film next weekend — and grossed more than $10 million in seven markets, including $24 million in Korea.
With a $302 million international gross, “Captain Marvel” has earned $455 million overall to date, the largest ever global opening for a March release and the sixth highest of all time.
Directed by “Half Nelson” filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck — making this the first Marvel Studios film directed by a woman — “Captain Marvel” wasn’t quite as well received by critics as more recent entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a 79 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. But the MCU’s enormous fan base gave it their seal of approval with an A on CinemaScore, making it the 15th MCU film to receive an A or A+ from the audience poll.
In second place was Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which is still staying ahead of its two predecessors despite the tough competition. The film dropped 51 percent for a $14.7 million third weekend total, putting its domestic cume at $119.6 million. Worldwide, the film has now made $435 million.
Lionsgate’s “A Madea Family Funeral” finished third with $12 million grossed in its second weekend, giving the final “Madea” film a 10-day total of $45.8 million. That puts it in position to eclipse the entire $47.3 million domestic run of 2017’s “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” in the coming week.
To complete the top five, Warner Bros.’ “Lego Movie 2” earned $3.8 million in its fifth weekend for a $97 million total, while Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel” earned $3.2 million in its fourth weekend for a $78.3 million total.
Overall, “Captain Marvel” accounted for approximately 75 percent of all domestic box office business this weekend, making a dent in the year-to-date deficit that 2019 has fallen into in the first quarter. After this opening, the 2019 domestic box office has grossed $1.79 billion, down 21 percent from the “Black Panther”-fueled 2018. The YTD deficit had been at 27 percent prior to this weekend.
With “Captain Marvel” now providing a steady stream of ticket sales, the 2019 slate will pick back up in the coming weeks with the release of Universal’s “Us,” which has received critical acclaim after its SXSW premiere, and Warner/New Line’s “Shazam,” which also received a strong reception from early press screenings.