“Captain Marvel,” Marvel’s first female-led superhero film, soared in its Thursday box office previews by earning an estimated $20.7 million. It opens nationwide this weekend on over 4,310 screens.
This total is the fifth biggest preview gross for any MCU title, behind only the most recent two “Avengers” films, “Black Panther” and “Captain America: Civil War.” The total also cracks it into the Top 20 of all time preview opening nights, nestled in between “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” and “Suicide Squad” at number 18.
$2.5 million of “Captain Marvel’s” Thursday total also came from 411 domestic IMAX screens. This marks IMAX’s second biggest March preview behind “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” The film is opening on approximately 1,360 IMAX screens worldwide this weekend, the widest ever IMAX day-and-date release.
Independent trackers have the MCU film projected for an opening of $145 million, with Disney projecting a more conservative $125 million. But by serving as a teaser for “Avengers: Endgame” in April after that film’s dramatic cliffhanger, “Captain Marvel” has its sights set high and hopes to go higher, further, faster than not just other female-led tentpole films but fly past other Marvel films and box office record holders.
Analysts who spoke with TheWrap say that “Captain Marvel” could catch the opening from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which is currently the highest grossing film with a sole-female lead. That movie made a whopping $25.2 million in its Thursday previews before making $158 million in its opening weekend. The highest opening ever in March is Disney’s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” which did $16.3 million in previews and opened to $174.7 million domestically.
DC’s “Wonder Woman” is the second highest grossing film with a solo-female lead, and it’s the highest grossing female superhero film to date. Its Thursday preview numbers and its opening were more modest however, earning $11 million in Thursday previews ahead of a $103.2 million open. And compared to other Marvel movies, last year’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” made $11.5 million in Thursday previews on its way to a $216 million open, and “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” did $17 million in its previews.
And internationally, the film has already earned $44 million from 18 material markets, not including China. It opens there Friday, and early estimates indicate an opening day of around $34 million, which would be the second highest MCU opening day in China behind only “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Brie Larson stars in “Captain Marvel” as Vers, a member of the Kree empire’s elite intergalactic military unit Starforce. When she crash lands on Earth in the 1990s, her goal is to stop an invasion of shapeshifting aliens known as the Skrulls with the help of future SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). But along the way, she rediscovers memories that were believed to be erased, memories that reveal that she was once a human fighter pilot named Carol Danvers.
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck directed “Captain Marvel” from a script they co-wrote with Geneva Robertson-Dworet. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. It currently has an 81 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.