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Box Office Breakdown: “Captain Marvel” Soars as Newcomers Overperform

I’m a day behind posting this week’s Box Office Breakdown, but the show must go on. Last week Marvel scored a huge payday with the release of the latest standalone film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Captain Marvel”. It was a huge shot in the arm for what has been a relatively underwhelming start to 2019 and going into this past weekend it looked like the box office might revert back to its slow pace with only minor new releases competing against Marvel’s monster hit. However, it turned out to be a weekend full of surprises, especially when it comes to expectations in ticket sales. So, let’s take a look at how the weekend played out in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

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At the top, as expected, for a second week in a row was “Captain Marvel”. The first female-led superhero flick in the MCU earned nearly $70 million in its second weekend pushing its domestic numbers to over $266 million. “Captain Marvel’s” sophomore weekend was not only the best second weekend domestic gross of 2019 to date, it topped every debut weekend of 2019 except, of course, for its own numbers last weekend. Globally the film has earned $760 million and is only $13 million away from “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” worldwide lifetime total. That would put “Captain Marvel” in the ten highest grossing MCU movies worldwide in it’s first three weekend. The film doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon, but it only has a few more weekends to cash in before “Hellboy”, “Shazam!” and “Avengers: Endgame” litter April with more comic book adaptations.

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After “Captain Marvel” we have two new entries that both surpassed projections in a weekend that proved to be much more popular than many had originally anticipated. First up in second is the critically panned Paramount animated film “Wonder Park”. Due to poor reviews, uninteresting trailers and the overabundance of animated features bound to be more interesting in 2019 I decided not to view or review “Wonder Park” for now, but other moviegoers saw fit to give it a chance. “Wonder Park” took in $16 million domestically while grabbing another $4.3 million oversees making it the highest grossing new release of the weekend. Behind it in third with $13 million domestically is another film that outperformed expectations (a theme for the weekend), “Five Feet Apart”. The latest in a long line of what has been dubbed “Sick-Lit” films, named after the book genre that many accuse of glorifying death and illness by utilizing a real or fantasy sickness to drive a teen romance narrative, “Five Feet Apart” earned middling reviews but found an audience. It overperformed and received decent viewer scores with most of the viewership being under 25-years-old…shocking! This is a movie I DID see, and it made me man cry so if you’d like to read my take on it you can check out my review here. Rounding out the top five were holdovers “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and “A Madea Family Funeral”.

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You have to drop to sixth to find the next new entry, a movie that was not on my radar at all but apparently was pretty popular. “No Manches Frida 2”, which only debuted in 472 theaters, earned an impressive $3.89 million to outperform its predecessor’s Labor Day weekend opening in 2016. The Spanish-language film outperformed another new entry, “Captive State”, released in over five-times the number of theaters as “No Manches Frida 2” and yet couldn’t deliver more than $3.1 million in ticket sales. The science fiction thriller about a post invasion Earth overseen by an alien race received mixed critical reviews and poor viewer ratings resulting in a flop for Focus Features. I wasn’t a big fan of the film and you can read my take on “Captive State” by clicking here. Finishing out the top ten were ‘The Lego Movie 2”, “Alita: Battle Angel” and “Green Book”.

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So, after a weekend where Marvel ruled again and newcomers provided surprises that showed life at the box office, what can we expect from this weekend? How about the latest horror feature from Oscar-winning writer Jordan Peele, “Us”? Peele’s follow-up to “Get Out” (they are actually not related in any way), “Us” is already receiving amazing critical reviews including one publication calling it the greatest horror film ever. That’s a bold statement that will surely bring fans to the theater to see what the buzz is all about. But, can it beat “Captain Marvel” which could see holdover numbers in the $50 million to $40 million range? That is going to be the key. It won’t have much competition either as the only other new releases this weekend are the limited debuts of “Sunset” and “Hotel Mumbai”, so it will be “Us” versus “Captain Marvel” for the top spot. Look for my review of “Us” this weekend as well as a possible surprise review of another upcoming potential blockbuster as well (we’ll see if I can score some tickets before I make any promises).

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