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Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?

Posted on the 10 May 2016 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

It's a question without an answer: With Captain America: Civil War now on path to gross well beyond $1 billion worldwide, has 2016 already peaked? Of course, I mean that in terms of box office, not necessarily in quality. When the year is done, Civil War probably won't be viewed as the height of filmmaking in 2016 (that is to say it won't be winning Best Picture), and it might not even be universally considered the year's ultimate achievement in comic book storytelling. We still have Apocalypse, Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange on the way, after all.

However, thanks to Hollywood's new year-round scheduling we've already had three summer blockbuster-like hits ( Deadpool, Zootopia, The Jungle Book), and Civil War, the first official film of the summer, will probably beat all of them and could very well end up the highest-grossing film of the year. When we look at the rest of 2016, what is there that could challenge the combined might of Iron Man, Captain America and a few of their rowdiest friends?

Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?
Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeah. There's another Star Wars movie coming out this year, but will an odd prequel like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story really challenge Civil War for box office supremacy?

But, first, let's do the numbers:

Captain America: Civil War

North American Debut: $179.1m

China Debut: $95.8m

International Gross After 2 Weeks: $494m

Current Worldwide Gross: $673m

Selected Records: 5th Biggest Opening Weekend (North America), 2nd Biggest Three-Day Debut in China for a Hollywood Movie (behind Furious 7), Biggest Opening Weekends in Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, to name a few

Heck, let's do a chart too. I've been doing a lot of those lately.

Civil War is now in the top 5 for opening weekends in North America. Let's widen that out and look at how things played out for the movies in the top 10 list of all-time opening weekends in North America.

Barring a BvS-esque freefall, the history here suggests Civil War will make it to over a billion worldwide, and a huge drop-off seems unlikely, not with it already posting respectable holds (-55% collectively) in the international markets it opened in last weekend.

Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?
Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?
Fine. We get it. Civil War is definitely going to join the $1 billion club, and it's kicking BvS' ass. That's not the point of this article, though. The question, for those given to pondering such things, is whether or not 2016 has any other movie which will challenge Civil War?

Generally, when a Marvel movie opens big like Civil War it ends the year near the top of the charts, but rarely ever at #1. Avengers managed to finish as the #1 film of 2012, domestically and worldwide, but none of the subsequent Marvel movies have repeated that feat:

  • 2013 - Iron Man 3 was passed by Hunger Games: Catching Fire domestically, and Frozen worldwide
  • 2014 - Guardians of the Galaxy finished behind Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 and American Sniper domestically, and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and Transformers: Age of Extinction worldwide.
  • 2015 - Age of Ultron trailed well behind Furious 7, Jurassic World and The Force Awakens worldwide

I can't rightly predict the next America Sniper, can I, assuming 2016 even has something which could turn into such a huge, surprise hit. However, 2016 does have another re-launch of an old 90s franchise ( Independence Day: Resurgence), and a potential animated money-printing machine ( Finding Dory). Obviously, there's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Plus, we can't count out J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter spin-off/prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?
But how the heck do you predict what Rogue One and Fantastic Beast will do? At least with Civil War, you could look at the other Captain America and Avengers movies. Can you fairly compare Rogue One to Force Awakens? Since it's a prequel and stars a completely different cast, Rogue One feels a bit more like a solo Marvel film in comparison to Force Awakens' Avengers, in terms of box office expectations.

Or does it? Forbes thought differently, "That this film is a prequel set during the original trilogy's days will provide a huge added nostalgic boost for audiences, especially on the heels of The Force Awakens nostalgia-fest left adults everywhere weeping from sheer joy at reliving our childhood all over again [...] My guess is that the crown will come down to a fight between Rogue One and Captain America: Civil War."

Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?
As for Fantastic Beasts, you can point to the Harry Potter movies all you want (a combined $7.7 billion worldwide gross), but those were all based on books. Fantastic Beasts is more or less an original creation J.K. Rowling wrote for the screen, adapting a little-read Harry Potter tie-in textbook she wrote years ago for charity.

Still, as Forbes wrote last year, "The anticipation for a new Harry Potter-related movie, and one written by Rowling herself no less, should help enhance this movie's buzz immensely. All it has to do is be good. If it can do that, then I think it's pretty reasonable to expect it to join the $1 billion club, and if it's great then it could catch fire and be a breakout akin to this year's Furious 7 or Jurassic World."

Box Office: Will Captain America: Civil War Pull Off Something Which Has Eluded Marvel Since The Avengers?
What about Finding Dory? We easily forget this, but back in 2003 Finding Nemo made $864m without the benefit of 3D. When it was re-released in 3D, it added $72m bringing its worldwide up to $936m, which inflation-adjusts to $1.2 billion. If Finding Dory rekindles that old magic we could have a monster hit on our hands.

Heck, screw this question of whether or not Civil War will pull off something no Marvel movie has since 2012. The bigger question is how many movies Disney will have in the year-end top 10. My guess is 7 (the non-Disney movies will be Fantastic Beasts, Independence Day and ... oh, I don't know, let's say X-Men: Apocalypse ... no, Suicide Squad....wait, no, how about Ice Age: Collision Course?...wait, are we just totally forgetting about Jason Bourne and Star Trek Beyond?).

How do you see everything playing out?


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