As you know by now, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened to a record-shattering $95 million domestic, while overseas it scored massive back-to-back weekends, bringing its worldwide total to $302 million in ten days. Through the following weeks, it continued to performer stronger than expected, winning its second weekend in North America with $41.3 million. By Tuesday of this week, the foreign totals were updated and Captain America’s newest outing has passed $500 million worldwide.
If none of this impresses you much, then here’s the kicker context to consider: By the end of April, Captain America’s second solo outing will have topped the box office of five of the seven modern Batman feature films, five of the six modern Superman movies (and will likely end up passing the sixth one), all six of the X-Men franchise films and Wolverine spinoffs, and by the end of his run the star spangled super-soldier’s sequel will also bring in more bucks than two of the three Iron Man movies and both Thor movies as well.
Should Captain America: The Winter Soldier top $670 million, then among solo superhero franchises only Spider-Man, Christopher Nolan’s last two Batman movies, and Iron Man 3 film will have performed better. That’s some mighty impressive company to rub elbows with.
But here’s why this is so particularly impressive and relevant, dear readers: This is a character whom most pundits and fans assumed had limited appeal in light of his overt U.S. symbolism and old fashioned values, remember. The fact he amassed $200 million from foreign audiences in ten days is thus not only stunning, but rather telling as far as the potential of this character and of the Marvel brand in general are concerned.
Here’s something else you probably haven’t noticed about the Marvel Studios films: With five franchises so far, four of them became billion dollar franchises by their second films. That’s assuming, of course, that Captain America: The Winter Soldier tops the $630 million mark, but it will. Those same four all topped $500 million in either their very first outing or in their second outing. The trend overall is for Marvel films to surpass $500 million at the box office from now on — nine films in, six of them passed $500 million, including the last four in a row.
If Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man continue the trend this year and next (and I bet they will), Marvel will be sitting on eight franchises averaging more than $500 million per film and all likely to be billion dollar franchises, aside from the single exception of the Hulk’s series (and at some point, that will change, I’m guessing). Most studios would kill for seven franchises that perform that consistently. We’re reaching a point where Marvel will soon be releasing three films during some years and raking in easily $1.8 billion to $2 billion per year at the box office, and some years (Avengers years) closer to the $3 billion range.
» Captain America Made Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Better, But Still Not Great