“Captain Marvel” soared higher, farther, faster at the box office this weekend.
The 21st installment of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe — and its first film with a solo female lead — took in an estimated $455 million worldwide since Thursday.
In the U.S. the film garnered an estimated $153 million during its debut.
The Marvel superhero flick was initially slated for a conservative $125 million opening domestically. However, after a strong Thursday and Friday at the box office, Disney adjusted its forecast, saying Saturday that it foresaw the film hauling in between $145 million and $155 million.
The final tally won’t come until Monday, but Sunday’s figures have solidified “Captain Marvel” as the third-highest March debut of all time in the U.S., and the seventh-biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of all time.
“Captain Marvel” is also the second-highest grossing superhero origin film, behind “Black Panther,” which hauled in $202 million during its debut.
Marvel Studios now has seven of the top 20 film debuts in industry history and Walt Disney Studios holds 12 of the top 20.
Internationally, the film has grossed an estimated $302 million, making it the fifth highest international opening weekend of all time and the second highest superhero opening weekend of all time, behind only “Avengers: Infinity War.”
On Saturday, Disney revealed that between Thursday previews and Friday’s showings, “Captain Marvel” earned $61.4 million in the U.S., positioning it as the seventh-best Marvel Cinematic opening day domestically, behind the three “Avengers” films, “Black Panther,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Iron Man 3.”
“‘Captain Marvel’ is exactly what the industry had hoped for in a box office superhero, delivering a monumental opening weekend that has already begun reversing the downward trending revenue that has been the hallmark of 2019 thus far and will jumpstart what looks to be an amazing year at the multiplex,” Paul Dergarabedian, analyst at Comscore, told CNBC.
The domestic box office has kicked off to a slow start in 2019. A weak slate of February movies exacerbated an already struggling box office and led to a 38 percent decline in ticket sales in the month compared with last year, according to Comscore. Hollywood hauled in about $627.1 million during the month, its lowest February take since 2002.
February’s movie slate was always going to be hard-pressed to beat the monumental box-office sales of the same month a year ago. Last year, “Black Panther” helped boost sales to a whopping $1 billion for the month, the best February ever.
“Captain Marvel” arrives nearly a year after the cliffhanger ending to “Avengers: Infinity War,” which teased that the heroine is the most powerful superhero and the only one who could take on villain Thanos. It also comes nearly two years after “Wonder Woman,” released by Disney-Marvel rivals Warner Bros. and DC, raised the bar for female-led comic book adaptations, scoring $103 million in its domestic opening weekend.
On Tuesday, ahead of “Captain Marvel’s” opening, Fandango reported that the film, helmed by Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson (“Room”) had become the biggest advanced-ticket seller since “Avengers: Infinity War,” surpassing “Black Panther.”
This presale figure is particularly impressive considering Captain Marvel’s alter ego, Carol Danvers, is a relatively unknown character to non-comic readers.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, owns Fandango.