There's been a lot of news about Captain America in the last few days. The critics although embargoed, have dropped hints that Captain America just may be the best CBM of the summer. But it's not the critics that are the deciding factor in whether a movie gets a sequel. Let's look at some key statistical data and figure out what the key numbers are in order to guarantee a financially successful movie.
Cap is set to open in an estimated 3,500 theaters, nation wide. To add some context to this number, here are some past opening theater counts:
-Captain America: 3,500*
-Harry Potter: 4,375
-Green Lantern: 3,816
-X-Men First Class: 3,641
-Pirates of the Caribbean 4:4,155
So Cap is opening in smaller number of theater than all of those movies [*This is an estimate and my guess is that the final number will be slightly higher]. But don't be worried, movies that perform well are often opened in an "expanding" number of theaters.
Now let's look at these same movies and their [opening weekend domestic gross/movie budget].
-Harry Potter: $168/$250M*
-Green Lantern: $53M/$200M
-X-Men First Class: $55M/$160M
-Pirates of the Caribbean 4: $90/$250M
-Captain America: ?/$140M
So HP7.2 made 67% of it's production budget back in the opening weekend, while Transformers made 52%, Green Lantern made 27%, X-Men made 34%, Pirates of the Caribbean made 36% and Thor made 44%. What's working in Cap's favor is that at $140M, it has the cheapest production cost. *Should be noted that the $250M production cost for HP7.2 was spread across both movies. Usually poor opening weekend numbers are a sign that the public did not buy into the marketing or that negative reviews kept people out of theater seats. How does everyone feel about Cap's marketing? Think it's captured the broader public's interest?
Lastly, lets look at some of the intangibles surrounding Cap's box office potential. The truth of the matter is that this is the 4th CBM to hit theaters this summer. Audiences at this point, "may" be feeling super hero fatigue which could hurt the weekend gross for the Sentinel of Liberty. The other disadvantage is that Harry Potter is likely to still be going strong this Friday and could steal some of Cap's numbers. The advantage Cap has is that it's a very recognizable property unlike say Green Lantern [not taking a shot, relax], which is largely unfamiliar to the general populace. Another advantage is that the only other movie opening that weekend is Friends With Benefits which looks terrible. Here's more from The Street on Cap's upcoming war with Harry Potter:
So rather than make a prediction here, I want to open up the floor to you guys. Based on all the data and the intangibles "what do you think Cap's opening weekend number will be?" And what's the magic box office revenue number in order for Cap to have a guaranteed sequel?
"Captain America: The First Avenger" will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).