Marvel Studios’ latest movie, Captain Marvel, opened for Thursday previews last night in less than 4,000 theaters, and it grossed an estimated $20.7 million in those showings that began at 7pm.
That’s the fifth best Thursday preview number for a Marvel movie, but the second best for a non-sequel character introduction movie after last year’s Black Panther, which made $25.2 million in previews that was incorporated into a $75.9 million opening day and $202 million in its first three days. Marvel’s top opener Avengers: Infinity War also came out last year with $39 million in previews and a $257.7 million three-day opening.
While Black Panther is probably the best comparison, it also opened over a four-day weekend with a school and Government holiday on Monday. Many schools are going to start their spring break next week which could help Captain Marvel maintain its business on Sunday.
If Captain Marvel matches the progress of Black Panther over the weekend, it’s looking at a $165 million opening. That actual number could be lower since there seemed to be a lot more Thursday previews than normal. At least one theater in New York City was showing the movie every five minutes and well past midnight, so we’ll have to see how that affects the Friday box office (into which the Thursday previews are incorporated).
Check back on Saturday for an update on how well Captain Marvel does overall on Friday, but right now it’s looking like it will do somewhere between 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5 million opening weekend) and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million opening). It also might fall short of the March opening record set by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with $174.7 million two years ago.