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Captain Marvel: Will She Reach $1 billion?

Captain Marvel (CM) has opened and there is no doubt (well, almost) about how well she’s doing at the box office!

A whopping $456.7 million is the 6th biggest worldwide opening in the…yeah…world.

However, the apparently few doubters (technically known by scientists as…Trolls) insist that we inform you about some necessary context. CM opened in most major international territories (including China) on week one. This means there aren’t many markets left where she can potentially open big. Japan and Spain seem to be the only ones yet to be reported on Box Office Mojo at time of writing.

A regionally staggered release is one of the reasons many films end up with huge multipliers of their opening day earnings. Thus, CM earning over $303 million outside North America in her first weekend does not necessarily mean she will enjoy the more than x3 average multiplier the top 100 movies have enjoyed…at least not by default.

Let’s see if we can plot her trajectory.

The table below shows the list of top 10 overseas openers compared with their eventual hauls:

The best-case scenario for CM is the performance of Furious 7 which went on to more than quadruple its overseas opening. CM is not likely to perform that well because not only did Furious not open in China in the first week, it made nearly $400 million in China when it did…more than double what CM is likely to end up with over there.

The worst-case scenario is the performance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) which managed to only double its opening numbers when all the Kryptonite dust settled. BvS is also an outlier because it’s the only movie on the list to have dropped by more than 55% for 3 consecutive weekends after the opening weekend. It also suffered abysmal ratings from the critics even though its audience score is eerily similar to the current score for Captain Marvel (62% on Rotten Tomatoes). I assume that the Captain’s audience RT score might still have some correction to do in the upward direction as more non-trolls get to review the film. I digress. No more talk of trolls.

BvS was one of the most highly-anticipated films of all time and it showed in the opening numbers. I don’t believe Captain Marvel was as highly anticipated and I don’t believe she will be dropped like a hot potato or like a radioactive spear made out of glowing alien rock.

I believe it is important to note that BvS had a Cinemascore of “B” while CM got an “A”. Cinemascores are tallied from surveys of actual real live homo sapiens who have actually seen the movie… right after, while it’s still fresh on their minds. Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies have generally done well in this regard. A huge testament to how much goodwill the brand enjoys.

Even if Captain Marvel were to, somehow, only double her international opening, she would end up with at least $606 million from the international market. This would be a worse performance than that of BvS which also opened in most of its major territories during its first weekend.

Now let’s talk about the domestic market.

CM is also in good company here. All top 10 MCU films have made more than twice their opening takes. Even if Captain Marvel manages to uncharacteristically make only twice her opening take, she will end up with nearly $307 million. Adding the $606 million from the foreign markets, we have a total of $913 million.

$913 million! This is assuming she has worse luck than BvS!!

I think I can safely call that billion dollars.


OlaWale Ajao View All

Artist who loves spreadsheets.

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