Whilst Avengers: Age of Ultron is sitting pretty atop its mountain of global box office earnings, Wednesday marks exactly one year before Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6, 2016.
Following Ant-Man later this summer, the next Captain installment will be Marvel Studios' 13th chapter in their beloved cinematic universe. Could it mark the fifth consecutive year a Marvel flick claims the domestic summer box office throne, and join the $1 billion global club in the process?
There's a touch of irony to the potential of Civil War. As a superhero, the Captain was at one time presumed to have the weakest lucrative outlook because of a perception that the world wouldn't connect to such a patriotic hero in a decidedly mixed cultural and political climate for America. Of course, this was before The First Avenger released to solid reviews, word of mouth, and box office returns in 2011 -- laying the final brick in Marvel's lead up to the first Avengers.
Last year's Winter Soldier was met with fantastic word of mouth, and nearly doubled First Avenger's global box office take ($715 million from $371 million -- that's more than just market expansion). Now that audiences have gained an appreciation for Chris Evans' Steve Rogers, his proud alias, and what he stands for, the Captain America series has earned the role of carrying the MCU flag between Avengers movies now that Iron Man is, for the time being, on ice.
One growing "criticism" of Marvel flicks is the strict adherence to formula. This is nearly unavoidable when you're churning out an average of two films per year, but "The Cap" has managed to stand out. First Avenger was a nostalgic throwback to wartime stories with an ending that dared leave our hero more lost and out of place than any MCU film has ever since. Winter Soldier followed that by not just pushing forward Steve's story in the modern world, but by shaking up the entire Marvel mythos with the plot-twisty collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- ultimately becoming one of the most well-received Marvel films up to this point.
Civil War is poised to continue that tradition of providing the MCU its next major evolution.
The story arc on which it's loosely based is one of the most popular among Marvel fans, and was a watershed moment in the history of comic books. Pitting heroes against heroes on a massive epic scale is ripe with dramatic potential and, incidentally, was a major strength of the first Avengers' narrative.
Civil War promises to deliver on the well-established beef between Rogers and Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark, the de facto leaders of the Avengers, when the world's governments impose regulation on all superhero activity in the wake of Age of Ultron's events. This forces other heroes to take a side as allies become enemies -- and *that* is an interesting dynamic audiences should be keen on watching play out because both sides of the ensuing conflict will be supported by deeply rooted character empathy that just isn't found in most villains (Tom Hiddleston's Loki being the closest exception). Whatever the outcome is, you can bet it will have ripples throughout virtually all of Marvel's following films.
Effectively, this positions Civil War to be more than just a Captain America sequel. Think Avengers 2.5, sans Bruce Banner/Hulk and Thor (for now, anyway).
It's also confirmed that the new Peter Parker/Spider-Man will be introduced in this film. Despite that franchise's troubles in recent years, he'll be a major drawing factor if he's provided more than just a cameo. Marvel's ability to finally have creative input into that franchise (whose rights are still owned by Sony) is just the saving grace Spidey needs right now, and it will finally place one of the most popular comic book characters of any generation into the heart of Marvel's mighty universe.
Filming has only just begun, but on paper, Captain America: Civil War may already have a leg up on Summer 2016's contenders for the box office crown. That's not to say they don't have strong arsenals of their own, though: Paramount's Star Trek 3 will be taking advantage of that franchise's 50th anniversary, Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse will cap off a (thus far) well-received trilogy in epic fashion under the guidance of Bryan Singer, Sony has high hopes for its star-studded and female-driven Ghostbusters revival, while Disney itself has another contender in Pixar's long-awaited Finding Dory.
We'll discuss those and more films in the months ahead as part of our continued early glimpses into the box office future.
By Daniel Garris
Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $13.13 million on Tuesday to dominate the daily box office for a fifth consecutive day. The blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel was down a slim 1 percent from Monday's performance. In comparison, 2012's Marvel's The Avengers fell 6.5 percent on its first Tuesday to gross $17.68 million, while 2013's Iron Man 3 was essentially unchanged on its first Tuesday to take in $11.29 million. Avengers: Age of Ultron has grossed $217.63 million in its first five days. While that is softer than was widely expected, it still represents the second largest unadjusted five-day start of all-time (behind only The Avengers). Avengers: Age of Ultron is running 11 percent behind the $244.01 million five-day start of The Avengers and 11 percent ahead of the $196.69 million five-day take of Iron Man 3.
Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline held steady in a distant second with $0.809 million. The romantic drama starring Blake Lively was up a very strong 53 percent over Monday and down 40 percent from last Tuesday. The Age of Adaline continues to perform on the high end of expectations with a twelve-day take of $24.72 million. That places the film just 1 percent behind the recent $24.96 million twelve-day start of The Longest Ride. The Age of Adaline will hope to hold up well this coming weekend thanks in part to the Mother's Day holiday.
Furious 7 grossed $0.610 million to remain in third place. The seventh installment of Universal's blockbuster action franchise was up 24 percent over Monday and down a sharp 57 percent from last Tuesday. Furious 7 has grossed $332.17 million in 33 days, which places the film an extremely impressive 44.5 percent ahead of the $229.85 million 33-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.
Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 continued to claim fourth place with $0.438 million. The Kevin James led comedy sequel increased a healthy 45 percent over Monday and fell 46 percent from last Tuesday. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has grossed $52.26 million in 19 days. The film continues to run in line with expectations and is running 16 percent behind the $62.02 million 19-day take of 2011's Zookeeper.
By Daniel Garris
Avengers: Age of Ultron continued to dominate the daily box office on Monday with a daily take of $13.23 million. In the process, the blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel surpassed the $200 million mark on Monday. The film reached the milestone in four days; making it the second fastest film ever to reach the milestone (behind only 2012's Marvel's The Avengers). However, Avengers: Age of Ultron was down a sizable 74 percent from Sunday's performance. That is a concerning early sign given that The Avengers declined 67 percent to gross $18.89 million on its first Monday. The first Monday performance of Avengers: Age of Ultron was much closer to that of 2013's Iron Man 3, which fell 74 percent on its first Monday to gross $11.27 million. With a massive four-day start of $204.499 million, Avengers: Age of Ultron is running 10 percent behind the $226.34 million four-day take of The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of the $185.41 million four-day gross of Iron Man 3.
Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline placed in a distant second with $0.529 million. The romantic drama starring Blake Lively was down 65 percent from Sunday and down a solid 42 percent from last Monday. The Age of Adaline continues to perform on the high end of expectations with an eleven-day take of $23.91 million. That places the film a slim 1 percent behind the recent $24.21 million eleven-day start of The Longest Ride. The Age of Adaline will hope to hold up well this coming weekend thanks in part to the Mother's Day holiday.
Furious 7 followed closely behind in third place with $0.494 million. The seventh installment of Universal's blockbuster action franchise fell 74 percent from Sunday and a sharp 57 percent from last Monday. Furious 7 has grossed $331.56 million in 32 days, which places the film an extremely impressive 45 percent ahead of the $229.19 million 32-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.
Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 claimed fourth place with $0.301 million. The modestly budgeted Kevin James led comedy sequel declined 82 percent from Sunday and 51 percent from last Monday. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has grossed $51.82 million in 18 days. The film continues to run in line with expectations and is running 14 percent behind the $60.48 million 18-day take of 2011's Zookeeper.
By Daniel Garris
Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron debuted with a massive $191.27 million this weekend. While that represented the second largest opening weekend performance of all-time, it also represented a notably softer debut than had been widely expected for the film (especially after its relatively strong Thursday night launch). Instead of surpassing the $207.44 million debut of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron had to settle for opening in between The Avengers and the $174.14 million debut of 2013's Iron Man 3. Avengers: Age of Ultron opened 8 percent below The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of Iron Man 3.
That Avengers: Age of Ultron is on course to ultimately gross less domestically than The Avengers isn't a surprise. But its opening weekend performance being softer than that of its predecessor is a surprise, in part from the fact that Avengers: Age of Ultron will in all likelihood be more front-loaded than The Avengers was, perhaps significantly so.
It should be mentioned that Saturday's performance appears to have taken a clear hit from the much hyped about and long awaited Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match. Game 7 of the Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs NBA Playoffs series and the Kentucky Derby likely also helped take a toll on Saturday's performance as well.
Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $84.42 million on Friday (which included an estimated $27.6 million from Thursday evening shows), declined a very sharp 33 percent on Saturday to gross $56.53 million and fell just 11 percent on Sunday to gross $50.32 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.27 to 1. That is significantly more front-loaded than the 2.57 to 1 ratio of The Avengers and the 2.53 to 1 ratio of Iron Man 3.
In addition to Saturday's performance being affected by the mentioned sporting events, the early front-loading for Avengers: Age of Ultron suggests that die-hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were much more excited about the film than more casual fans of the series were. It is quite possible that Furious 7 having gone over so well with moviegoers in April helped downplay anticipation a bit for Avengers: Age of Ultron with more casual fans (similarly, that appeared to happen this weekend last year when potential for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was softened a bit by the strong audience reaction to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)
There is hope that Avengers: Age of Ultron could rebound from its early front-loading going forward, thanks in part to a strong initial audience reaction of its own. Avengers: Age of Ultron received an A rating on CinemaScore and its early audience score among Rotten Tomatoes users stands at a very strong 90 percent. On the other hand, Avengers: Age of Ultron will face tougher initial competition throughout May than The Avengers did back in 2012, at least on paper, from the combination of Universal's Pitch Perfect 2, Warner's Max Max: Fury Road, fellow Disney release Tomorrowland and to a lesser extent from Fox's Poltergeist and Warner's Hot Pursuit.
The audience breakdown for Avengers: Age of Ultron skewed towards male moviegoers (59 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (59 percent). Family audiences represented 22 percent of the film's overall audience. Teenage moviegoers represented 12 percent of the film's overall audience, which represented a significant drop-off compared to The Avengers (when teens represented 21 percent of the opening weekend audience).
Moving past the absolute market dominance of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, it was a close three-way race for second place between Universal's Furious 7, Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline and Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.
After leading the box office for each of the past four weekends, Furious 7 fell to second place this weekend with $6.64 million. The seventh installment of Universal's blockbuster action franchise was down a very sharp 63 percent, which was understandable given the debut of Avengers: Age of Ultron and that Saturday's sports events took a toll on the marketplace in general. Furious 7 has grossed $331.07 million through 31 days of release. That places the film an extremely impressive 45 percent ahead of the $228.62 million 31-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.
The Age of Adaline placed in third $6.20 million. While the romantic drama starring Blake Lively was down a significant 53 percent from last weekend's debut, it also experienced one of the weekend's stronger percentage holds among wide releases. The Age of Adaline has grossed $23.38 million in ten days. That is on the high end of expectations and places the film just below the recent $23.68 million ten-day start of The Longest Ride. With aid from Mother's Day next weekend, The Age of Adaline should experience a stronger third weekend hold than The Longest Ride did.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 claimed fourth place with $5.88 million. The modestly budgeted Kevin James led comedy sequel fell a sharp 60 percent from last weekend. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has grossed $51.52 million in 17 days. The film continues to run in line with expectations and is running 13 percent behind the $59.21 million 17-day take of 2011's Zookeeper.
Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice
Avengers: Age of Ultron continued its global rampage this weekend with an estimated $168 million from 88 territories, adding 44 territories from last weekend and playing in 71% of its international market. Overseas, the Disney/Marvel sequel has now grossed $439 million which surpasses the lifetime cumes of Captain America ($194 million), Iron Man ($265 million), Thor ($268 million), Iron Man 2 ($310 million) and Thor: The Dark World ($439 million). Globally, Ultron is up to $627 million which bests Captain America ($371 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man (583 million), and Iron Man 2 ($622 million).
Ultron was the top movie in all 88 territories this weekend and dropped off only 37% from last weekend. It continues to dominate in Asia where it opened it Thailand to the 2nd biggest weekend ever for $7.4 million. South Korea is the top international market for Ultron (perhaps thanks to that high speed chase through downtown Seoul) with $55.4 million after two weekends. Russia is up to $27.2 million and has already passed the lifetime cume of the original Avengers. Despite most of country watching the fight of the century, the Philippines found time to make Ultron the third biggest movie of all time with $12.0 million behind Marvel’s Avengers and Iron Man 3.
Ultron also rolled out in most of Latin America this weekend with Mexico and Peru taking their biggest industry opening weekends of all times. It grabbed 92% of the market share in Mexico for $25.5 million. Elsewhere, Columbia and Peru both more than doubled their opening weekends from the original Avengers, and Brazil dropped off only 11% in its second weekend for a $29.5 million total.
In Europe, Spain opened to $6.2 million which was 2% ahead of Avengers and 41% ahead of Iron Man 3. The UK is Ultron’s second highest international market with $48.1 million, 6% ahead of Avengers thus far.
On the overseas IMAX front, Ultron picked up a cool $7.2 million on 221 screens in 50 countries for an international cume of $22 million. Mexico ($25K/screen), Ecuador ($40K/screen), and Egypt ($100K/screen) delivered their best weekends ever for IMAX.
Chinese filmgoers are eagerly anticipating Ultron’s release on May 12, and Japan will see the Avengers on its screens in July.
Furious 7 added $50.7 million from 65 territories this weekend, bringing its international cume to $1.091 billion and its global haul to a staggering $1.422 billion. That puts it past Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($1.341B) as the 4th highest grossing film of all-time globally behind Avatar ($2.8B), Titanic ($2.2B), and The Avengers ($1.5B). Its $1.098 billion from overseas is the third highest behind Avatar ($2B) and Titanic ($1.5B).
The seventh installment in the Fast series continued to lead the market in China for a third consecutive weekend as it fell just 22% thanks to the Labour Day Holiday to gross $28.1 million for a 22-day total of $375 million. Furious still has one more weekend to break $400 million before Age of Ultron hits theaters on Tuesday, May 12.
Other top grossing territories are: U.K. and Ireland ($54.3 million), Mexico ($50.5 million), Brazil ($43 million), Germany ($37.4 million), Russia ($32.2 million), Australia ($32.2 million), France ($31 million), Venezuela ($30.3 million), Taiwan ($25.3 million), India ($24.8 million), South Korea ($24.1 million), Argentina ($24.4 million), the Middle East ($20.4 million), Italy ($20.1 million), and Japan ($17.8 million).
Home cozied up to $17.75 million this weekend, transporting its international total to $170.89 and the global total to $329.37 million. China took in $10.83 million ($21.32 million cume) from 3,842 screens to place #5 in the market over the Labour Holiday weekend. France added $1.58 million for a total of $5.46 million after 3 weekends, a bump of 8% from last weekend.
Cinderella is taking her last dance in Japan, but still managed to waltz up $7.0 million from 33 territories. She’s now crossed the $300 million overseas mark and will look to pass $0.5 billion globally in the coming week.
Unfriended scared up $3.9 million from 9 territories this weekend. Combined with a light rollout the past two weekends in the Baltic, its international tally is up to $4.08 million and its worldwide cume is $33 million. The tweeny social media thriller opened in 2nd place in both the UK and Ireland ($2.1 million) and Australia ($994k). Unfriended will expand internationally in the following months with South Korea next to open up on May 7.
Run All Night took in $3.4 million over the weekend from 49 markets bringing its international cume to $38.1 million. Brazil opened with $667K on 316 screens, Italy opened with $564K on 248 screens, and Argentina opened with $371K on 138 screens. The film has grossed $64.5 million worldwide and will open in Japan on May 16.
The Longest Ride bucked its way to $3.37 million this weekend with openings in Germany ($1.7 million), Austria ($285), Brazil ($265K), Switzerland ($301K), and Norway ($114K). Its international total stands at $11.98 million and $45.37 million globally. It kicks into Belgium and Spain next weekend.
Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd opened at #2 in the UK with $2.12 million. Combined with the two week total from Vinterberg’s native Denmark, the adaptation has grossed $2.55 million overseas and $2.74 globally after one weekend of limited release in the States.
Warner Bros’ Focus crossed $100 million this weekend with its opening in Japan where it found $1.0 million from 235 screens. The film stands at $154.35 million globally.