By Maureen Lee Lenker
March 10, 2019 at 01:54 PM EDT

Captain Marvel is going higher, further, faster at the box office.

The Marvel film easily soared past its competition for the biggest opening weekend of 2019 and the first title of the year to open to more than $100 million. It won the box office with an estimated opening total of $153 million in ticket sales at 4,310 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday. It marks the seventh biggest opening for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second-biggest debut of a new Marvel character on the big-screen, behind only last year’s record-breaking Black Panther. 

Chuck Zlotnick/©Marvel Studios 2019

Holdovers How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral take second and third place respectively. In its third week at the box office, the final film in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy continues to hover near the top of the box office, taking in an estimated $14.7 million across 4,042 theaters. A Madea Family Funeral also marks the end of an era as Tyler Perry’s final Madea film, and it firmly takes third place in its second week with an estimated $12 million across 2,442 theaters.

Chuck Zlotnick/©Marvel Studios 2019

Captain Marvel introduces audiences to the titular character in the form of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a part human, part Kree warrior who retains flashes of her life on earth as she fights a member of the Kree strike team known as Starforce. When Danvers crash lands on earth during the 1990s, she attempts to uncover the truth about her past and the origin of her cosmic powers, all the while facing down trouble from the shape-shifting Skrulls infiltrating the planet.

The film marked a major milestone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as their first female-led superhero film, as well as the first to boast a female director with Anna Boden co-directing with creative partner Ryan Fleck. Captain Marvel had a lot riding on its shoulders, but it smashed every expectation this weekend taking in $302 million internationally for a staggering $455 million global debut. This marks the fifth highest international opening weekend of all-time and the second biggest super-hero weekend behind only Avengers: Infinity War. Notably, it also is the third highest MCU opening weekend in China ever (behind Avengers: Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War) quieting doubts that a female-led film could perform well overseas.

Many have waited with bated breath to see how Captain Marvel performed in comparison to DC’s first female-led superhero outing, 2017’s Wonder Woman. Marvel continues to win the comic book battle between the two major brands, with Captain Marvel’s $153 million surpassing Wonder Woman’s solid $103 million opening weekend. In fact, Captain Marvel’s $455 million global debut makes it the most successful launch for a female-led film ever, surpassing the previous record holder, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, which took in $357 million globally.

The superhero film is resonating with audiences and critics alike. Despite attempts from internet trolls to tank the Audience Rating score on Rotten Tomatoes, critic reviews have been largely positive and audiences agree — giving the film an A CinemaScore (Marvel Studios’ fourteenth such high mark). The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, and Goose the cat (aka Reggie) . Larson will reprise the role in this summer’s Avengers: Endgame. 

Franchises big and small dominate the box office this March. Second-place title How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World adds $14.7 million in its third weekend, bringing its cumulative domestic total to $119.7 million. This tracks just below the original film in the trilogy, which boasted a three weekend $133.4 million haul.

Third place entry Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral brings its domestic total to $45.9 million with an addition of $12 million in its second weekend, continuing to hold strong as the third best performing Madea film behind 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail  and 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion.

Neon/CNN Films/Sundance Institute

Another cosmic adventure, this time in documentary form, also made impressive moves this weekend. Neon’s documentary about the moon landing Apollo 11 lands in tenth place in its second weekend out across only 405 theaters for an estimated total of $1.3 million of IMAX driven-dollars. The film features never before seen large format footage of the Apollo 11 mission, focusing on the efforts of commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins.

Rounding out the top five is another franchise entry and a still-struggling new sci-fi epic. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part takes fourth place with an estimated total of $3.8 million across 2,930 theaters. Its $97.1 million domestic total across five weekends falls far short of its 2014 predecessor The Lego Movie, which had taken in $224.9 million by its fifth weekend in theaters. Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel closes out the top five with an estimated $3.2 million across 2,374 theaters, bringing its domestic total to a disappointing $78.3 million.

Overall box office is down 21.3 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore, a slight rise from previous weeks boosted by the explosive success of Captain Marvel. Check out the March 8-10 numbers below.

1. Captain Marvel— $153 million
2. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $14.7 million
3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral— $12 million
4. Lego Movie 2: The Second Part— $3.8 million
5. Alita: Battle Angel— $3.2 million
6. Green Book— $2.5 million
7. Isn’t It Romantic— $2.4 million
8. Fighting with my Family— $2.2 million
9. Greta— $2.2 million
10. Apollo 11— $1.3 million

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