Here’s Why ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Could Earn at Least $600 Million

Fans take to social media to applaud the latest Marvel superhero epic, which, if history serves, should pay off huge at the box office.

Mar 11, 2014 at 1:15PM

Early reaction to Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been overwhelmingly positive. Sources: Marvel Entertainment, YouTube.

If the reaction on Twitter to last night's early screenings is any indicator, then The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and Marvel Studios need to get busy greenlighting a sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Accelerating the inevitable tie-in to Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might also be s good idea.

But don't take my word for it. See for yourself:

ComicBook.com tends to document fan reaction to these sorts of early screenings. My sense from their findings this go-around is that audiences like Captain America: The Winter Soldier as much or more than they did Iron Man 3, which earned a coveted "A" CinemaScore.

Marvel Studios' superpower = connecting with audiences
Don't know the CinemaScore? I can't blame you. Designed more for studio executives than Wall Street analysts, the CinemaScore is an exit poll whereby audience members grade the film they just saw from "A" to "F". Movies that grade well tend to enjoy strong word of mouth and higher overall box office returns.

You might even say the CinemaScore is the most important indicator of box office success or failure. Twitter buzz for last night's early screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier suggests a particularly good CinemaScore is in order.

Of course, no one in Hollywood will be surprised if the film performs well. Marvel Studios has a remarkable record of making crowd-pleasing epics. Phase 2 films Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World fared especially well at the box office:

Metric
Captain America: The First Avenger
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World

Domestic opening

$65.06 million

$174.14 million

$85.74 million

Production budget

$140 million

$200 million

$170 million

Worldwide gross

$370.57 million

$1,212.69 million

$631.67 million

Est. box office break-even

$560 million

$800 million

$680 million

Est. box office gross profit %

(33.8%)

51.6%

(7.1%)

CinemaScore / Rotten Tomatoes

A- / 79%

A / 78%

A- / 65%

Sources: The Numbers, Rotten Tomatoes, The Hollywood Reporter.

Notably, both Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 earned an "A" CinemaScore, while Thor: The Dark World improved on the B+ its predecessor enjoyed. All three films earned at least $600 million in worldwide grosses. Don't be surprised if Captain America: The Winter Soldier -- which opens on April 4 and doesn't face stiff competition for nearly a month -- pulls that much or more.

Images

Actor Chris Evans becomes an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Source: Marvel Entertainment.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Google, Netflix, and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google, Netflix, Twitter, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Netflix, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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