Weekend Forecast: Will Captain Marvel Soar Higher, Further, Faster than Past March Openers?

After a sluggish two-month start to 2019, the box office is preparing for a major awakening this weekend with the release of Disney’s 21st chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and their first ever to star a female character.

For a variety of reasons outlined below, tracking on this title has been increasingly bullish — but not without fair caveats.

For reference, the top three, non-inflation-adjusted March opening weekends of all-time are:

  • Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million)
  • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166.0 million)
  • The Hunger Games ($152.5 million)

Captain Marvel
Opening Weekend Range: $150 – $195 million

PROS:

  • As the MCU’s first female-led solo film, interest is spread far and wide across fans and casual audiences for a type of blockbuster movie rarely seen by generations of viewers. Following the performance of Wonder Woman and Black Panther, the cultural significance of this film’s debut is integral to potential performance.
  • Social media and Trailer Impact reactions have been very strong over a consistent period of time, while traditional tracking has consistently registered close to films like Captain America: Civil War, Batman v Superman, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and — with only a few caveats — Black Panther itself.
  • Fandango announced this week that Marvel is the company’s top pre-seller since Avengers: Infinity War, while independent research reveals pre-sales activity is not far off the pace of Black Panther (with a noticeable portion of sales occurring past Friday).
  • Marvel’s track record up to this point has turned nearly film in the franchise into an event on some level, especially given Captain Marvel‘s direct connecting line between Avengers: Infinity War and the upcoming Endgame “finale” in April. That could bump appeal for those unfamiliar with the character.
  • With International Women’s Day landing on Friday, an added boost from women’s group sales could be reasonably expected.
  • Not only has it been eight months since the last MCU title, but the staggeringly sluggish market over the past few months has created a void of must-see films. The market is primed for a breakout with four-quadrant appeal.
  • The addition of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson reprising their MCU roles is an added attraction for fans.
  • Standing at 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes this morning, reviews are strong enough to continue encouraging late pre-sales and walk-up business.
  • Adding to generational appeal, the film’s 1990s-era setting keeps it modern enough for young viewers with a dose of nostalgia baked in for adults.

CONS:

  • Despite the Infinity War/Endgame connection, this remains a character that the uninitiated are generally unfamiliar with and have never seen on-screen before. Moreover, it’s a name that’s less well known among the masses than the pop culture icon that was Wonder Woman before her cinematic origin story two years ago.
  • Direct comparisons to the various metrics of Black Panther are challenging due to that film’s proximity to Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day on opening weekend.
  • A contingent of vocal dissenters have made their online presence known in an effort to troll the film ahead of release, similar to events befalling Black Panther, recent Star Wars filmsand the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. We don’t expect this to have a major impact, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Top 10 vs. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will earn north of $220 million. That would represent a 79 percent increase from the same weekend last year when Black Panther‘s fourth weekend ($40.8 million) topped the opening of A Wrinkle In Time ($33.1 million) as part of an overall $123.1 million top ten frame.

Weekend Forecast

FilmDistributor3-Day Weekend ForecastProjected Domestic Total through Sunday, March 10% Change from Last Wknd
Captain MarvelDisney / Marvel$175,000,000 $175,000,000 NEW
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden WorldUniversal$16,400,000 $121,700,000 -45%
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family FuneralLionsgate$12,700,000 $46,200,000 -53%
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second PartWarner Bros.$3,200,000 $96,600,000 -52%
Alita: Battle AngelFox$3,000,000 $78,300,000 -58%
Green BookUniversal$2,800,000 $80,300,000 -39%
Fighting With My FamilyMGM$2,700,000 $19,300,000 -42%
Isn’t It RomanticWarner Bros. / New Line$2,200,000 $44,000,000 -51%
GretaFocus Features$2,000,000 $8,000,000 -55%
What Men WantParamount$1,400,000 $52,200,000 -49%

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.

Contact us for information about subscribing to Boxoffice.com’s suite of forecasting and data services.

News Stories

News & Analysis

Weekend Actuals: Hobbs & Shaw ($25.2M) Fends Off Newcomers Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark ($20.9M), Dora and the Lost City of Gold ($17.4M) to Remain No. 1

Chris Eggertsen  • 

Sunday Update: Last weekend’s leader fended off several newcomers, as Universal’s Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw repeated on top with $25.2M. Its sophomore weekend decline of -57.9% is actually a little better than for any of the franchise’s most recent installments: -61.1%...