Following the recent success/failure of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the pressure is on Marvel to up the ante with their own superhero brawl. Inspired at least partly by Warner Bros.' attempt to win at the box office by having its most popular superheroes duke it out, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War brings a significantly larger number of heroes to the fight.
With early reviews for Civil War looking promising and its position at the beginning of summer blockbuster season historically favorable, the conditions are right for Civil War to surpass its most recent competition. But will it actually deliver? Initial estimates are pointing to yes.
According to Deadline, Civil War is on track to pull in $190 million in the U.S. on its opening weekend, significantly more than the $166.1 million that Batman V Superman made on its own opening weekend. The latter film beat Marvel's previous tentpole movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, when it came to opening day sales, but then suffered a sharp decline afterwards. When international markets are factored in, Civil War is predicted to pull in between $200 million and $230 million.
Whether the drop-off in ticket sales for Batman V Superman was due to poor reviews or superhero movie fatigue is up for debate, but no doubt Marvel is hoping it was the former rather than the latter. They will be beating Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse to theaters by several weeks, but that doesn't mean superhero movie fans won't be making some tough decisions when it comes to spending their hard-earned income. Fox is riding a tidal wave of goodwill after the surprise success of Deadpool, not to mention the two X-Men movies that came before it, so they have proven themselves to be a major rival to both Marvel and Warner Bros.
Will Captain America: Civil War live up to its box office estimates, let alone its massive hype? With as massive as Marvel's release calendar is, even after Inhumans was pulled from it, there is a lot riding on its success. Sony's future as a major player in the superhero movie industry is at stake as well, as they hope to drum up interest in yet another Spider-Man series by debuting the new web-slinger in the context of the MCU. With Marvel introducing Black Panther, in addition to its roster of returning heroes, it is looking to be a very crowded movie. If Marvel can pull it off, though, it will be a big win both for them and for superhero movies in general.
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.