“Captain America: Civil War”, to the surprise of almost no one, became the first film of 2016 to crest a billion dollars in international box office this weekend. A couple of months back, it certainly seemed that “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” would reach the number before anything else. But after a steep 2nd weekend drop-off, BvS is now unlikely to see a 900 million total. How about “Zootopia”? Well, that animated smash, at 982 million as of this writing, appears to have the next best chance of achieving the goal, before arriving for home viewing in June. Also, “The Jungle Book”, with a worldwide tally of 858 million, is closing in too. But “Captain America 3” got there before any of them. And it’s actually a much more impressive accomplishment, then it at first appears.
“Captain America: Civil War” is the 13th official film, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and financially, is behind only “Iron Man 3” and the two “Avengers” movies, in total global gross. And passing Robert Downey, Jr.’s 3rd solo go in the metal suit appears to not be out of the question. But “Cap 3” has had the much more impressive rise. “Captain America: The First Avenger” appeared in the summer of 2011 to strong reviews–but “only” a 371 million total gross. Compare that to “Iron Man” in 2008 with 585 million. Folks were ready for more in 2014, with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, pulling in 714 million. That easily surpassed the 624 million dollar haul of 2010’s “Iron Man 2”, but paled in comparison to 2013’s 1,215.4 billion for 2013’s “Iron Man 3”. But now “Civil War” not only appears to have a shot at beating that, it could also close in on the 1,405.4 pulldown, from last year’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. Just…wow.
And all that goes to show that the movie-going public just loves their “Captain America”. I base this in no small part on the marvelous centerpiece that is the wonderful Chris Evans as the title character. He was the perfect choice for the role, and he continually improves on his deceptively keen characterization of the comic book icon. We love Iron Man/Tony Stark, for his perpetual wiseacre quips. But it’s the homespun naturalism and sincerity of Captain Steve Rogers, that truly grabs our hearts. And that’s why he empties our wallets too. That includes mine.