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[Box Office] ‘Captain Marvel’ smashes expectations in debut: Female superhero flick dominates globally despite online criticism

Mar 12,2019
Marvel Studios’ first female superhero flick “Captain Marvel” staved off negative campaigns targeting its lead actor Brie Larson and topped both Korean and North American box offices over the weekend. [THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY KOREA]
“Captain Marvel,” Marvel Studios’ first female-fronted superhero movie, fought off negative reviews and trolls targeting lead actor Brie Larson and smashed both the Korean and North American box office records over the weekend.

The movie made $455 million globally in its debut weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, making it one of the most successful openings for a female-led film.

In Korea, the film dominated box office soon after its release; from Friday to Sunday, it sold 2.3 million tickets at 2,098 screens, according to the Korean Film Council.

The film hit the three-million-ticket sales mark just five days after its release on Wednesday - tying a record previously set by Marvel flick “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017) - and raked in a total of 27 billion won ($23.8 million).

The film’s powerful opening comes after weeks of criticism and boycott campaigns organized by detractors of the latest Marvel release before the movie’s worldwide release on Wednesday.

Some people claimed that Larson’s hero didn’t smile enough, a charge she responded to with doctored pictures of male Marvel superheroes with awkwardly large grins. Others took issue with Larson’s statements about making her press interviews for the film more inclusive and not “overwhelmingly white male.”

The anti-“Captain Marvel’’ campaign included a flooding of Rotten Tomatoes audience scores that drove the film’s score down to 55 percent fresh as of Sunday. To combat the issue in advance of “Captain Marvel,” Rotten Tomatoes removed the ability to rate movies prior to release. The score of the movie on Korea’s Naver also plummeted to below four out of 10 among male viewers.

Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff declined to address “Captain Marvel” foes but applauded Marvel and Kevin Feige for propelling a movie that expanded the Marvel universe.

“What they believe is that the more you diversify perspective and experience in front of and behind the camera, the better the movies and the stories are,” said Taff. “You see that in their track record. I think you see that in their box office. And I think you see that in the broadening of their fan base.”

CinemaScore, which relies on interviews with audience members coming out of theaters, found that crowds very much liked “Captain Marvel,” giving it an A rating. Reviews were less enthusiastic but still good, landing 79 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Coming in second at the Korean box office was local period epic “A Resistance,” drawing more than 130,000 viewers at 632 screens in its second weekend at the box office. The low-budget film hit the one-million-ticket sales mark on Sunday, far surpassing its break-even point of 400,000 tickets. The film depicts Korean independence activist Yu Gwan-sun’s (Ko A-sung) year spent in prison after organizing a protest in her hometown against Japanese colonial rule (1910-45).

Director Jang Jae-hyun’s thriller, “Svaha: The Sixth Finger,” also slid down a spot and rounded out the top three, selling 90,000 tickets at 559 screens in its third week, bringing its total sales to 827 million won. The film stars actor Lee Jung-jae as Pastor Park, who carries out an investigation into a suspicious cult group called Deer Mount. He finds out that several members of the group have been carrying out murders in the name of God.

In North America, last week’s top film, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” slid to a distant second place in its third weekend of release with $14.7 million. In its second weekend, Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral” dropped 55 percent with $12 million. It has made $45.9 million in 10 days.

“Captain Marvel” scared away any new wide releases. Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut, “The Kid,” was largely overlooked by moviegoers. It sold $505,000 in tickets at 268 theaters.

A24’s “Gloria Bell,” Sebastian Lelio’s remake of his own Chilean drama, opened strongly in limited release with $154,775 in five theaters. The film stars Julianne Moore as a middle-aged Los Angeles divorcee.

“Apollo 11,” the acclaimed moon landing documentary featuring newly discovered and restored footage, continued to pack theaters. It made $1.3 million from 285 locations, including many IMAX screens.

Academy Award best picture winner “Green Book” continued to see one of the largest Oscar bumps in years. It grossed $28.3 million overseas, boosted significantly by $15.7 in its second weekend in China.

In Korea, it bumped up four spots from last week and landed in sixth at the weekend box office. With $242.2 million worldwide, “Green Book” is the highest grossing best picture winner since “The King’s Speech.”

BY YEO YE-RIM, AP [yeo.yerim@joongang.co.kr]





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