Movie-goers rewarded Warner Brothers handsomely for delivering a superhero slugfest in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" — to the tune of more than $860 million in worldwide receipts despite near-brutal reviews.
Now, with the roaring debut of "Captain America: Civil War" this weekend, all signs indicate fans aren't yet suffering superhero fatigue. The movie bowed to a massive $181.8 million weekend, meeting analysts' lofty expectations and becoming the fifth-biggest opening ever.
Marvel Studios and its parent, Walt Disney, have arguably set the gold standard for the genre. With the latest sequel, box office analysts expect Marvel to prove its earnings power and creative mettle by packing theaters for another massive team-up movie just one year after the Avengers last assembled on screen.
The movie earned $25 million on Thursday night, the second highest on record for a Marvel movie, and eclipsed the $166 million debut for "Batman v Superman."
Last weekend, "Civil War" took in more than $200 million when it opened in nine major countries and more than two dozen smaller markets.
BoxOffice.com had projected the movie would earn $214 million in its opening weekend, but revised down its estimate to $182.5 million on Saturday.
Shawn Robbins, senior analyst at BoxOffice.com, said every film carries risk, but "Civil War" looks like the surest bet since "Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens."
"It's firing on all cylinders. Social media has been through the roof," he said. "I think word of mouth is going to spread pretty quickly."