Captain America: Civil War got a bit of semi-bad news this week, losing its No. 1 spot at the U.S. box office to The Angry Birds Movie.
However, it’s probably not time to throw the pity parties just yet as the film still managed to log more than $30 million and cross a huge milestone that eluded both of DC’s flagship characters in their first live-action appearance together on-screen.
Much was made of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and its opening weekend gross of $561 million worldwide. At the time, it seemed like a shoo-in for $1 billion and perhaps even $1.5 billion.
The real test for it would be how those general audiences — not the typical DC fans — responded to it in the weeks after its debut.
To say the least, the fallout was not good.
The Zack Snyder-directed film ended up grossing just $870 million worldwide, way below DC and Warner Bros.’ expectations.
While it turned a profit on a basic mathematical level, it was a relatively small one compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, as well as some Marvel characters whose film rights are handled by other entities.
Outside of Captain America: Civil War, even films like the R-rated Deadpool scored much bigger profits than BvS.
In the case of that lesser-known Marvel character, the film was shot for just $58 million and ended up grossing $763 million worldwide — a profit of more than $700 million compared to BvS‘s estimated margin of $470 million.
With Deadpool a victor where it counted, most industry analysts looked for Captain America: Civil War to do better than Batman V Superman even though the latter two characters have existed far longer and are more recognizable to general audiences than any in the Marvel Universe.
At least they were more recognizable.
— ScreenCrush (@screencrushnews) May 23, 2016
With the MCU success of Captain America: Civil War, Disney and Marvel have pushed the once-iconic Batman and Superman characters toward the brink of ordinary.
How did it do it? By crossing the $1 billion threshold in only its fourth week of play.
With this week’s performance, the new Captain America film is now at a staggering $1.053 billion on a budget of just $250 million.
What’s more, Marvel and Disney have been able to grow the audience for the Captain America films with each passing movie.
After Cap debuted in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, he went on to a global box office take of $370 million. Captain America: The Winter Soldier followed that performance by almost doubling its predecessor’s take, claiming a worldwide gross of $714 million.
With Captain America: Civil War‘s latest high, Disney has again grown the performance of this character by more than $339 million. And with stellar reviews and word-of-mouth, there is a chance the film could play well for another month or two.
Contrast that with Batman V Superman, which was supposed to spur interest for a whole new series of character films and a Justice League event only to endure one of the largest second week drops in motion picture history, and it’s clear that DC and Warner Bros. have no other choice to retool.
That’s why they have decided to strip Snyder of his creative control for the rest of the universe and hand it over to Geoff Johns.
But with the events of the entire DC Extended Movie Universe (DCEMU) already set in motion under Snyder’s Batman V Superman, will it be too little too late?
That may be for time and audiences to decide, but with this week’s milestone Captain America: Civil War has statistically buried BvS in the Marvel-DC movie war.
Which of the two films did you think was better? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Marvel/Disney promotional]