It looks like the summer movie season starts early this year with Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is poised for a huge opening weekend. According to industry tracking and box office analysts, the film is poised to become April’s top-selling film, surpassing Fast Five in 2011. Based on advance ticket sales on Fandango, the film has already surpassed Fast Five, which opened with $86.2 million in April 2011.
In July 2011, Captain America: The First Avenger opened to only about $65 million domestic for its first weekend. The film finished with a domestic take of $176.6 million and about $390 million worldwide. Industry forecasters believe Captain America: The Winter Soldier can even open as high as the $100 million mark this weekend, eclipsing the opening weekend of The First Avenger. The buzz for the film has been bolstered by overwhelmingly positive reviews. On the movie review aggregate site, Rotten Tomatoes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier currently sits at a certified fresh rating of 88 percent. The rating puts it ahead of other Marvel Studios films and sequels such as Iron Man 3, Iron Man 2, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In fact, the only other two Marvel Studios releases with higher Rotten Tomatoes ratings are Iron Man and The Avengers. The stats and predictions look positive for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to have a huge domestic weekend opening.
Internationally, the film has already gotten a head start on the overseas box office, grossing well over the $100 million mark presently. With all that in mind, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already past the halfway mark of Captain America: The First Avenger’s overseas performance from 2011. So The Winter Soldier will likely obliterate The First Avenger’s overseas take at the very least. Coupled with the strong box office success for Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, which were both released post-The Avengers in 2013, it appears the box office “Avengers-wave effect” will hold true for Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well.
The success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier bodes well for the future of Marvel Studios and their continued progression of their brand under the ownership of Walt Disney Pictures. Producer and President Kevin Feige recently announced that Marvel Studios is planning films as far ahead as 2028. It seems almost flabbergasting to think that far ahead, but it’s been Marvel’s long-term planning and building to events such as The Avengers that has made their franchises and brands so strong to begin with.
In addition, Marvel Studios and Disney have already announced a third Captain America movie set for a May 6, 2016 release date. Coincidentally, that is the same date Warner Bros. Pictures is planning to release their own comic book superhero movie extravaganza, Batman vs. Superman, based on the comics from Marvel Comics’ longtime publishing rival, DC Comics. In the past, competing studios have played a game of chicken or who will blink first with their release dates. With a strong box office performance for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it gives Marvel another leg up on Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. Batman vs. Superman might be influenced yet again to move dates. The film was originally announced to have a summer 2015 release at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The film was later delayed for May 2016. Marvel Studios had slated a mystery film for the May 6, 2016 slot in June 2016. Earlier this year, it was revealed the slot would be used for Captain America 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo are also already signed to return as directors for the next film. Chris Evans, who is currently filming Avengers: Age of Ultron, is also set to don the mantle of Captain America yet again. Regardless, all the elements are in place for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to have a huge opening weekend.
By Jeffrey Harris