“Captain Marvel” had the biggest opening ever for a female-fronted film

A marvelous debut.
A marvelous debut.
Image: Marvel Studios
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Marvel and Disney’s first joint superhero pic, Captain Marvel, made a record-breaking box office debut after its release Friday (March 8). So far it’s notched $455 million in worldwide ticket sales and $153 million in US sales, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That makes it the largest-ever global box office debut for a female-fronted film, edging out Beauty and the Beast’s $357 million debut in 2017, and the $103 million grossed by DC’s Wonder Woman the same year.

The comic-book adaptation, starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, is also the second-largest worldwide premiere for any superhero film, behind only Avengers: Infinity War, which grossed $640.5 million. It’s also the seventh-biggest debut for the Marvel franchise in the US, following the three Avengers films, Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, and Iron Man 3. 

The film’s early success is further evidence that women-led films can triumph in the international box office. A long-held myth that they could not was perpetuated by Hollywood for decades, but a media research agency recently found that blockbusters with female leads outperformed those with male leads at every budget level.

The superhero pic cost $150 million to make and was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, known for their indie pics including Half Nelson and Mississippi Grind. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has so received a score of 80% from approved critics, and 57% from audiences.