“Captain America: Civil War” is heading for the box office stratosphere this weekend with early estimates Friday showing a U.S. launch in the $180 million range.
If those projections hold, “Captain America” would record the fifth-best opening of all time, behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $248 million, “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million, “Marvel’s The Avengers” at $207.4 million and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” at $191.3 million.
Though spectacular, the domestic debut is shaping up as falling short of the top end of projections of around $200 million at 4,226 locations this weekend. The Thursday night preview number of $25 million was $2.6 million behind “Age of Ultron” — which did not make it to $200 million in its first weekend.
The $25 million is included in the Friday estimate for “Captain America,” which will take in around $75 million — the seventh-highest opening day at the domestic box office. “The Force Awakens” leads that list at $119.1 million, followed by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” at $91.1 million, “Ultron” at $84 million, “Jurassic World” at $82 million, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” at $81.6 million and “Marvel’s the Avengers” at $80.8 million.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said “Captain America: Civil War” should start the summer box office season in spectacular fashion.
“‘Captain America: Civil War’ is off to a solid start and is a movie that so perfectly delivers on the promise of its concept that it should build strongly throughout the weekend as the word gets out that this is a de-facto ‘Avengers’ film,” he said.
“This latest Disney/Marvel extravaganza is a massively entertaining, OMG moment-filled, perfectly crafted superhero confection that will guarantee great social media buzz and create enough repeat viewing to propel the film to what I believe will be one of the top five opening weekends of all-time and off the charts long-term playability around the world.”
“Captain America: Civil War” generated $261.6 million overseas as of Wednesday after rolling out in foreign territories beginning on April 27, then added $29.6 million on Thursday. Korea has led the way with $41.7 million.
“Captain America: Civil War,” the 13th film in the Marvel Universe, opens in China on Friday.
The film is a hit with critics, earning a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Advanced ticket sales have also been robust. The film set a new record this week on Fandango for a superhero movie, and currently comprises 90% of the online ticketer’s weekend sales.
Rival studios have opted to avoid launching another film this weekend in wide release. Disney’s fourth frame of “The Jungle Book,” which won three straight races, should lead the rest of the pack with about $23 million — leaving it with nearly $290 million in its first 24 days in the U.S.