'Captain Marvel' presale tickets soar, signaling big box-office debut for female-led superhero film

Key Points
  • Advance tickets for "Captain Marvel" outpace those of "Captain America: Civil War" in the first 24 hours.
  • "Captain Marvel" presales could surpass total advance tickets for "Avengers: Infinity War."
  • This is a good sign for Marvel owner Disney, as "Infinity War" and "Black Panther" collectively brought in more than $1.38 billion at the U.S. box office in 2018.
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, the first female superhero lead for Disney's blockbuster comic book movie business, and 'the most powerful character' Marvel has come up with yet, according to the company's president.
Marvel Studios

Marvel's "Captain Marvel," its first film to feature a solo female lead, is already on its way to shattering box-office records.

Tickets for the film, featuring Academy Award-winner Brie Larson in the title role, went on sale Wednesday ahead of its March 8 release and, in the first 24 hours, outpaced presales of 2016's "Captain America: Civil War."

The first day's ticket sales total for "Captain Marvel" is the third-highest of any Marvel film, just behind "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Black Panther," according to Fandango.

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"The fact that 'Captain Marvel' is third among all [Marvel Cinematic Universe] titles in the first 24 hours just shows you how much people are anticipating the film," Erik Davis, managing editor at Fandango, told CNBC.

Movie ticket site Atom Tickets similarly reported that "Captain Marvel" had outpaced ticket sales of major Marvel films in its first day of presale, falling short of the record set by "Avengers: Infinity War."

Still, Atom Tickets noted that with just over 40 days until the release of "Captain Marvel," the film could outpace "Infinity War" in terms of overall presales on its site.

This is a good sign for Disney, which owns Marvel Studios, as "Infinity War" and "Black Panther" collectively brought in more than $1.38 billion at the U.S. box office alone in 2018. Globally, the two films grossed more than $2.2 billion.

Fandango and Atom Tickets did not release the dollar figures of the first-day ticket sales.

"Captain Marvel" arrives nearly a year after the cliffhanger ending to "Avengers: Infinity War" teased that Captain Marvel is the most powerful superhero and the only one who could take on villain Thanos. The film will take place in the 1990s and tell the origin story of Carol Danvers, who becomes Captain Marvel.

With the film two months away, there are no reviews or Rotten Tomato scores to persuade audiences to pick up tickets, just a few teaser trailers and nearly a year of pent-up curiosity and anticipation.

The presale figure is particularly impressive, considering Captain Marvel is a relatively unknown character to non-comic readers and won't be part of an already established ensemble such as the Avengers.

"This leads me to believe that [the 'Captain Marvel'] box office will be healthy," Davis said.

Analysts predict "Captain Marvel" will bring in more than $100 million during its opening weekend run, on pace for a similar opening weekend as "Wonder Woman."

"Wonder Woman" was DC's first stand-alone female superhero film. Released in 2017, the film earned $103 million during its opening weekend in the U.S. and went on to garner $821 million worldwide.

On April 26, Disney will release "Avengers: Endgame," finally giving some resolution to the events of "Infinity War" and possibly serving as the last film for several of the actors who donned the mask, cape or shield of Marvel's most iconic characters. Captain Marvel is expected to appear in this film, as well.

Disclosure: NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC, owns a stake in Fandango.