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

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.

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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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2014, at 2:02 AM, Njancek wrote:

    It really sucks how Iron Man 3 got such a high amount, considering how both First Avenger and Dark World completely destroyed it in terms of actual quality.

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2014, at 3:41 PM, LAB43 wrote:

    I fail to see how Iron Man 3 got a better review rating than Thor The Dark World. It's not a competition but really?!

  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2014, at 7:38 PM, Georgeoftjungle wrote:

    I'm still confused?? Is bucky now the bear or the twink??

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