The first big superhero blockbuster of 2019 arrives in March in the form of Captain Marvel. The origin story for Brie Larson's heroine is already tracking for a huge domestic opening, but its worldwide opening weekend could truly be something to "marvel" at. We've just learned the film has secured a release date in China, and now Captain Marvel will open in the Middle Kingdom day-and-date with its North American debut on March 8.
Captain Marvel isn't being released later in China than it is in North America and other markets and that should really setup the Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck-directed movie to dominate the March box office. North America and China are the world's first and second-biggest box office markets. By opening the same day in both, it ensures that Captain Marvel should really run away with things, taking over the box office and the conversation worldwide.
Movies frequently have different release dates in different territories, whether that be for financially strategic reasons or as is often the case in China, local regulations. For example, the last three MCU movies, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp, opened in China three, two and seven weeks after their domestic debuts, respectively. Therefore, it is a big deal that Captain Marvel will be opening in China the same day as it opens in North America.
During the Chinese New Year holidays, the regulations in China usually only allow local titles to play in theaters, blocking Hollywood releases. The first Hollywood film that will grace the Middle Kingdom after the festivities will be Alita: Battle Angel on February 22 (a week after its domestic bow), followed by Captain Marvel on March 8, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
North America and China are the two biggest box office markets and they will likely contribute the lion's share of this movie's returns. Considering how these kinds of blockbusters make a good chunk of their money opening weekend, we'll have a pretty good indication of how successful Captain Marvel is right away when it debuts. Right now early tracking has Captain Marvel looking at an $140 million opening weekend domestically.
There are other reasons to think that Captain Marvel will be huge as well, including the fact that the advance ticket sales for the film are among the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Depending on the ticketing site, Captain Marvel sits only behind last year's Avengers: Infinity War and perhaps Black Panther in pre-sales.
Advance ticket sales are not a surefire metric of a film's eventual success, but being mentioned in the same breath as last year's two biggest MCU films is certainly not a bad place to be. Clearly audiences are stoked to see the ultra-powerful heroine, who will presumably turn the tide against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. Now, even more people will get to see her on opening day.
Captain Marvel blasts into theaters on March 8. For all of this year's biggest movies heading to theaters, check out our release schedule.