Marvel-ous Monday: How Much Money Will ‘Captain Marvel’ Make? (Breaking Down the Dollars)
We are just a little over three weeks away from the premiere of Captain Marvel. Although some are dreading this movie for one reason or another, the general public perception of Marvel’s first female-led film seems to be overwhelming positive. For such reason, the last few Marvel-ous Monday topics have been centered around Carol Danvers and her universe, and this movie has the potential to be really special. With fan theories all over the place in regard to her ties within the MCU and in regard to the villains she will square up against, the buzz surrounding the release is surreal. Sure, I can make my best guess as to how Carol will be portrayed through the talented Brie Larson, and I can also dive into comic lore about flerkens. With all of the uncertainties surrounding the film, I think there is one idea everyone can get behind: This movie is going to make A LOT of money.
I know this statement is far from revolutionary or unique, but the more information I read about its pre-release numbers, the more impressed I become. Being the MCU’s twenty-first release, there are plenty of factors to compare Captain Marvel with in terms of the previous films and their respective gross totals and critic ratings. In terms of money, Box Office Pro projects Captain Marvel to open at the $160 million mark, and ticket pre-sales are some of the highest in history. So how will this projected opening compare with others from Marvel? Well, there are some factors to consider before making the case. First, in terms of solo movies, Captain Marvel could, and most likely will be, be third on that list behind the 2018 release of Black Panther ($202 million) and the 2013 release of Iron Man 3 ($174 million). Now, the team-based movies tend to be higher, so I really don’t see Captain Marvel being within the top five openings for the company. For example, all of the Avengers films brought in at least $200 million (Age of Ultron was close at $191 million), and Captain America: Civil War checked in at a respectable $179 million. In terms of its release frame, the month of March has produced some fairly substantial opening weekends for the box office within the last five years with the most notable intake coming by way of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast in 2017. (For the record, that film brought in nearly $175 million on its opening weekend.)
In related news, it seems like Captain Marvel merchandise is at every retailer. From Hot Topic to Target, Disney is really trying to capitalize on the film’s hype. Perhaps most notably, the merchandise is really geared toward the female demographic, which has been underrepresented by way of clothing and toy lines. Prior to Captain Marvel, fans could expect to see a Black Widow item here or a Shuri item there, but the previous films’ toy lines and clothing lines were heavily pushed upon the male demographic.
One should also note the actor salaries with this film are rather historical from a Marvel perspective. A variety of sources have published the estimated salary Brie Larson took home for her portrayal of Carol Danvers, and I was a bit shocked to see such a figure for an introductory role within the MCU. Nothing against Larson’s credentials, but her estimated $5 million salary blows the other actors’ initial salaries out of the water. For comparison sake, Robert Downey, Jr. brought home $500,000 for his first Iron Man film; Chris Hemsworth raked in $150,000 for the first Thor; and Chadwick Boseman made around $2 million for last year’s Black Panther. Granted, no one could have accurately predicted the massive success of Iron Man, and each Phase One actor is making a pretty penny now (i.e. Hemsworth reportedly made around $15 million as Thor in Infinity War). Actor salaries are not made public very often, and the exact figures usually depend on a film’s success; however, I find it interesting that the studios put so much financial faith in Larson’s campaign.
Lastly, I think it is important to note the approximate run time of Captain Marvel. Early indications have the film running a cool 124 minutes, which largely falls short of the rumored 180-210 minute run of Endgame. Of course Endgame will be superior in every cinematic facet to Captain Marvel, but the barely two hour run-time is interesting since it is the send-home movie to Endgame’s April release . MCU films have the reputation of running long, and Captain Marvel would be shorter than most. Recent exception to the two plus hour standard would be Doctor Strange (115 minutes) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (118 minutes). I don’t know about any of you, but Marvel films never feel like they drag; therefore, anticipated run-time doesn’t really matter to me. To close this thought, there is a lot riding on Captain Marvel, both on the cinematic front and on the financial front, for Disney, so it will be fascinating to see how it all plays out.