Captain America: Civil War fights way to fifth-highest US opening ever

Superhero film joins two Avengers movies in top five, knocking out yet another Marvel offering, Iron Man 3

Disney and Marvels Captain America: Civil War, the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has returned the fifth-highest domestic opening ever, according to comScore estimates released on Sunday.

The film grossed a massive $181.8m this weekend, bumping another Marvel film, Iron Man 3, out of the top five all time debuts. Marvels The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron hold third and fourth place.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens holds the record, with an opening of just under $248m. Jurassic World is second, with $208.8m.

Civil War has nearly doubled the opening of the previous Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, which opened to $95m in April 2014. That is at least partially attributable to the fact that Civil War is basically an Avengers movie in disguise.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Civil War sees an ideological showdown between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) and is packed to the brim with Avengers old and new. It has been very well received by critics and now audiences, who gave the film a promising A CinemaScore. Audiences were 59% male and mostly adults. Teens made up only 11% of the audience.

After a $75m first day, the opening was right in line with expectations. According to comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, the film is well on its way to becoming a $1bn movie.

Weve become so accustomed to these massive numbers now were putting up single-day numbers that would be very noteworthy opening weekends on their own, Dergarabedian said.

Civil War cost $250m to produce but has taken far more thanks to a healthy international debut last weekend and a big bump from China this weekend. In sum, the superhero showdown has earned $678.4m globally to date.

Great reviews and word of mouth will surely <a href=”” data-link-name=”in” body link” data-component=”in-body-link” class=”u-underline”>distinguish Civil War from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which opened to $166m in late March but fell sharply over the subsequent weekends. That film has earned $327.3m domestically to date and this weekend placed 10th with $1m.

As is to be expected when there is only one new wide release, the rest of films on the charts looked paltry in comparison. The only big change was that Civil War effectively ended the three week first-place run of Disneys The Jungle Book, which came in second with $21.9m, bringing its domestic total to $285m.

Aside from the flop of The Finest Hours in January, Disney is having a great 2016 and this weekend surpassed the $1bn domestic mark in a record 128 days. It took 165 days to reach that threshold last year. The Marvel element is a key portion of that and one that other studios are trying to match.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Marvel Studios team as led by Kevin Feige has really been a model for consistency in extraordinary storytelling, said Dave Hollis, Disneys executive vice-president of theatrical distribution.

Kevin has established this interlocking, interwoven cinematic universe that is not just unprecedented in terms of its size and scale, but also its really unparalleled in entertainment today, the $9bn in business that theyve done in 12 movies.

Hollis credits the continued and growing success of the franchise to Feiges commitment to quality and also the strategy of each year releasing one Marvel film that is familiar to audiences and one that is new.

In 2015, that meant having an Avengers movie and Ant-Man. In 2014, it was a Captain America movie and Guardians of the Galaxy. This year the new element will be Doctor Strange, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and debuts in November.

You couldnt have a better lead in for the summer, said Dergarabedian, who noted that Memorial Day weekend should also be quite significant with the release of Alice Through the Looking Glass and X-Men: Apocalypse.

Even though on paper it might not look as strong as last year, the summer of 2016 shouldnt be underestimated, Dergarabedian said.

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