Marvel Studios has another winner on its hands with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. The latest chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe raked in $96.2 million (via The Hollywood Reporter) in its domestic opening weekend, an April box office record. The post-AVENGERS multiplier was in full effect, as this total is a 48% increase over CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER’s opening frame in July 2011.
Any concerns that the flag-wearing superhero had limited overseas potential have been erased by $207.1 million in the 10 days since the movie’s international release. That’s already $13 million better than the first film made in its entire international run. The $303.3 million worldwide total already hauled in by THE WINTER SOLDIER will propel it to easily surpass the $370.6 million total of THE FIRST AVENGER.
The Marvel brand is global and growing. The studio has essentially owned the first weekend in May, kicking off the annual Summer movie season. These numbers are sure to tempt Marvel and its competitors to shift that calendar into April. Universal has already found similar success with its FAST AND FURIOUS franchise.
This calls into question what Marvel should do about May 6, 2016, a release date currently inhabited by both CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 and Warner Bros.’ Batman/Superman movie. Marvel may feel reluctant to give up such a historically lucrative weekend that it built, but if April is redefined as the new May, then it would be to the studio’s benefit to move up in 2016 before Warner Bros. tries the same thing to make its film first to market that year.
The first two weekends in April 2016 are wide open and would afford either film the opportunity to print money for weeks before another looming box office giant steals focus.