May 7, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Captain America: Civil War” On the Lower End Of Huge


Deadline is reporting a preliminary opening day of around $75M (including $25M from Thursday night) for CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel/Disney), and one has to wonder:  are audiences getting the teensiest bit tired of superhero spectacles?  That $75M is a giant number, of course–it blows away the $36.9M that Captain America: Winter Soldier earned 2 years ago.  But as everyone knows, Civil War is really an Avengers movie (no Thor or Hulk, but hey–that’s Spider-Man!), and $75M is considerably below the $84.4M for last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as the $80.8M for the first Avengers.  More surprisingly, Civil War is coming in below the $81.6M for Batman v Superman–and BvS was notoriously despised by critics and audiences, while Civil War boasts a Rotten Tomatoes score over 90% and A-level audience polls.  None of this is to suggest that Civil War is anything other than a blockbuster hit, and the expectation is that its strong word of mouth will give it a much better Saturday hold than the 38% drop for BvS or even the 30% drop for Ultron, putting the weekend at perhaps $180M, which would put it above all superhero movies other than the Avengers pair.  Still, Civil War did absolutely everything right on the creative end, and yet this doesn’t seem to be the event that previous mega-movies in the genre have been.  Considering that this is only May and Civil War is already the 3rd superhero monster of the year after BvS and Deadpool, it may be getting harder to generate peak-level audience excitement.  That could be worrisome for studios, which are all-in on the genre:  there are at least 3 more superhero movies opening in 2016, and that doesn’t count the sci-fi event projects that aren’t technically comic book spectacles like the new Independence Day and Star Trek entries, all of them carrying massive budgets.

Civil War utterly dominated the Friday box office, and even the scraps stayed in-house, as THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney) followed it at $5.3M.  Considering that Jungle Book lost its Imax screens and much of its 3D earning power to its stable-mate, the 48% Friday-to-Friday drop was excellent, and it should reach $23M for the weekend, which will put it at around $286M, with BvS ($326.2M) and Zootopia ($324.9M) dead ahead.

MOTHER’S DAY (Open Road) was the main counterprogrammer to the Disney machines, down just 26% from last Friday to $2.1M, and expecting a Sunday holiday bump which could bring it to $8M for the weekend, steady with last week.  It’s still going to struggle to get past breakeven.

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR (Perfect World/Universal) was trampled by the superheroes, down 63% from last Friday to around $1M, and hoping for a $4M weekend.  It probably won’t reach $50M in the US, and Universal will hope to keep losses below $100M.

Last week’s other openings fell apart.  KEANU (New Line/RatPac/Warners) plunged 75% Friday-to-Friday to around $900K, and may have a $3M weekend that will leave it grasping for a $20M US total.  RATCHET & CLANK (Gramercy/Focus/Universal) fell 71% to under $500K, on its way to a $2M weekend and a US total around $10M.

A BIGGER SPLASH (Fox Searchlight), the weekend’s major arthouse opening, is heading for an OK $20K weekend per-theatre average in 5 NY/LA locations.  THE MEDDLER (Sony Classics) expanded to 53 theatres and is headed to a mild $5K weekend average.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."