As Team Iron Man prepares to take on Team Cap in Captain America: Civil War, Marvel and Disney are taking aim at a few targets of their own: summer box office records.
Playing at 4,226 theaters across North America, the $250 million juggernaut is this week’s lone new wide release, and it’s poised to officially kickstart the summer moviegoing season. Civil War has the potential to reap huge Friday-to-Sunday numbers approaching last year’s mid-year box office force Jurassic World, which opened to $208 million in June.
Strong critical reviews (it currently sits at 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) indicate Civil War is more than standard popcorn fare, and intense fan demand will likely translate to strong Thursday evening grosses for an added boost heading into the film’s first three days of domestic release.
The strongest holdover among a crop of weak performer’s, Disney’s The Jungle Book, will certainly fall to second place after reigning for three straight weeks, but it’s a happy ending for the Mouse either way: by Sunday, the studio will have notched both Civil War and The Jungle Book at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Here’s what the results of the May 6-8 box office showdown might look like:1. Captain America: Civil War — $200 million
Newly crowned as Fandango’s top pre-selling superhero movie of all time, Captain America: Civil War will easily clean up at the weekend box office with a figure in the $200 million range. Earning just over $200 million worldwide during its first weekend of international release, Civil War’s numbers are in-line with last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s global opening receipts of $201.2 million. Age of Ultron went on to gross $191.3 million domestically across its first three days of release, and Civil War will likely match (or exceed) that number, though the latter has thus far received far better reviews from critics (76 percent vs. 66 percent on Metacritic) than its Marvel predecessor. Studio estimates have the film pegged above $175 million, though such high grosses are notoriously difficult to gauge.
Pre-release tracking has Civil War pacing ahead of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which also united multiple characters from a comic book franchise in a single film as it opened to $166 million in March. The “civil war” aspect of Civil War undoubtedly adds appeal (and star power) to the film’s box office potential as well. The film will see Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) clashing with Chris Evans (Captain America) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) in a spectacular battle between former allies audiences are anxious to see. The previous installment in the Captain America series, The Winter Soldier, also leapt $30 million ahead of the $65 million first-weekend gross of its predecessor, indicating that affections for the series (and consequent ticket sales) are growing.
Though he later backtracked (sort of) on his comments, Downey Jr. also previously indicated a fourth Iron Man film “isn’t in the cards,” and that he was viewing Civil War as his personal Iron Man 4. Fans will line up to see what might be, in addition to both parts of The Avengers: Infinity War, one of Downey Jr. last big screen appearances as Tony Stark.2. The Jungle Book — $20 million
In the past, movies have traditionally dipped significantly in the wake of a new Captain America film. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 fell 72 percent to make way for the first Captain America in 2011, while Darren Aronofsky’s Noah buckled under the pressure of The Winter Soldier with a 61 percent tumble back in 2014. The Jungle Book has thus far run its course atop healthy legs heading into its fourth weekend, dropping only 40 percent and 20 percent across its second and third frames, respectively. To date, it has grossed over $700 million worldwide on a $175 million budget.
The Jungle Book‘s strong reception from both viewers and critics (it currently sits at 77 percent on Metacritic) will keep the film from completely breaking under the weight of Civil War, but the superhero epic should steal a larger-than-usual chunk of the family film’s audience this weekend thanks to mutual cross-demographic appeal.3. Mother’s Day — $5.4 million
With a predominantly-female audience (69 percent of people who saw the film last weekend were women), Mother’s Day will likely benefit from its status as counter-programming to Civil War. Garry Marshall’s third holiday-themed comedy could actually climb the ranks of the weekend’s top 10 from No. 4 to No. 3 in its second week of release, coming in a minor fraction short of its $8.4 million opening. Despite a critical savaging and middling B+ audience grade from CinemaScore, the Jennifer Aniston/Julia Roberts-starring holdover, which reportedly cost a relatively inexpensive $25 million to produce, will sell itself on name alone with a smaller-than-average dip this weekend, as the titular holiday upon which it’s based occurs this Sunday.4. Keanu — $4.3 million
Though pre-release anticipation appeared strong, prior success on the small screen didn’t translate to big ticket sales for Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as the Comedy Central stars’ kitty-centric romp Keanu premiered to a lukewarm $9.4 million last weekend. Recent studio comedies have typically held strong in their second weekend regardless of good or bad critical reviews (just ask Tammy, Spy, Vacation, Sisters, and Trainwreck), so the $15 million Warner Bros. film has little to worry about when it comes to recouping production costs. Still, Keanu’s B grade on CinemaScore indicates waning audience interest as Civil War moves in to take its place as the buzziest new release on the block.5. Barbershop: The Next Cut — $3.3 million
Amid a handful of comedies in wide release, including The Boss, Keanu and Mother’s Day, Barbershop: The Next Cut heads into its fourth weekend of release with an audience-approved A- grade on CinemaScore — the highest of the crop. As the first two films in the series proved, strong word of mouth among its target demo results in minimal shedding, with the third installment dropping under 50 percent week-to-week. As a comedic alternative to Civil War‘s superhero-fueled appeal, Barbershop: The Next Cut should gross just enough to edge out last weekend’s No. 2 finisher The Huntsman: Winter’s War from the top 5. As another action epic with weak legs, Winter’s War will tumble well over 60 percent as Captain America rises.