It all comes down to this weekend. After months of planning, hype and promotion, all eyes are now on Captain America: Civil War to see whether Marvel's biggest film yet can surpass expectations and be counted among the highest-grossing films of all time. Yet even if Civil War does manage to make a clean sweep at the box office, it will not only be compared to the Marvel films like Avengers and Age of Ultron that came before it but also this year's reigning opening weekend champ Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
As has been noted a lot recently, both the Marvel and DC films share a similar theme of superhero rivalry and are kickstarting a new era for their respective franchises, yet only one will emerge from this box office battle victorious. And so far it's looking good for Civil War. Going into the weekend, Fandango announced that the newest Captain America film was the top pre-selling superhero movie of all time, surpassing previous record holder Batman V Superman. Now the movie's box office haul looks to be following suit.
According to Variety, Civil War made an estimated $75.3 million on Friday in the U.S. and Canada, coming in as the eighth-highest opening day of all time and doubling the $36 million that Captain America: The Winter Soldier pulled in on its opening day in 2014. Civil War's number includes $25 million from the Thursday night preview showings. As of now, the film is expected to take in close to $180 million for its overall opening weekend, compared to Dawn of Justice's estimated $170 million and actual earnings of $166.1 million.
What this means is Civil War is on track to have the fifth-best opening weekend ever, only behind four other films: Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $248 million, Jurassic World at $208.8 million, The Avengers at $207.4 million and Avengers: Age of Ultron at $191.3 million. Projections show the third Captain America will unseat Iron Man 3 (which opened with $174.1 million exactly three years ago) to take its place after the other Avengers films, which seems oddly fitting seeing as Civil War is essentially another team-up movie.
There's also the money Civil War has already made outside the U.S. in much of Europe and Asia. After nine days, the newest film in the franchise is at $291.2 million, and that number should jump dramatically this weekend as it opens in China and twenty or so remaining countries. With no other major films opening this weekend around the world, it seems there is a clear path for Marvel's latest to dominate the global box office.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016;Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.